The Pirates rallied for two eighth-inning runs to leapfrog the Cubs, pulling out a 4-3 victory after trailing most of the night on Tuesday.
Facing Carl Edwards, who came in to get the final out of the seventh, the Pirates put together two walks and three hits around a Starling Marte baserunning error to still take the lead.
Leading off, John Jaso drew a four-pitch walk. Marte singled and Jaso took third. With runners on the corners, Max Moroff smacked a single to short left field to score Jaso, tying the score at 3. Marte inexplicably tried to go from first to third — I didn’t see what third-base coach Joey Cora’s signal was — and, as the go-ahead run, was thrown out easily. Moroff moved up on a wild pitch, and Andrew McCutchen struck out for the second out. The Cubs intentionally walked Josh Bell to get to David Freese, who drilled one back up the middle, scoring Moroff from second. Bell was out, a little less egregiously, going to third on a cutoff play.
Felipe Rivero blew by the Cubs in order, with a pair of strikeouts.
It was a pleasant little turn of luck, though they were a little lucky to be so close in the game, too.
Steven Brault, in his first Major League start of the season, got touched up for eight hits in five innings and didn’t strike out a batter. He allowed just three hits, though, stranding seven runners, including three in the third.
The Cubs got on the board in the first with two singles and a Ben Zobrist sacrifice fly.
Brault left a pair on in the second, and in the bottom of the inning Jordan Luplow smashed his second big-league homer, a two-run shot that went well out over the Northside Notch, and the Pirates briefly went up, 2-1.
The Cubs got four hits in the third, scoring two to take a 3-2 lead on Ian Happ’s single. Javier Baez followed with a single and Brault hit Victor Caratini to load the bases with one out. Rene Rivera flied out to shallow right, though, then pitcher Kyle Hendricks tapped out to Brault to end the threat.
Wade LeBlanc set down nine Cubs in a row over three innings of relief, keeping the Bucs within one run, which ended up crucial.
McCutchen and Freese each went 2-for-4.
Gerrit Cole faces Jose Quintana in the third game of the four-game series on Wednesday.