Francisco Cervelli and Starling Marte each belted home runs, Jordan Lyles notched 10 strikeouts in a quality start, and the Pittsburgh Pirates pulled away for a 5-2 win over the host Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. Josh Bell also drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which evened the three-game series at one game apiece. Marte, Cervelli, Bell and Erik Gonzalez had two hits each on a cold, blustery night along Lake Michigan with temperatures dropping into the 30s.
Jason Heyward went 3-for-4 with a home run to lead the Cubs at the plate. Chicago has lost eight of 11 games this season. Lyles (1-0) started strong and never relented to earn his first win since signing with the Pirates this past offseason. He limited the Cubs to one run on three hits in six innings, with one walk and his first double-digit strikeout performance since May 15, 2018, as a member of the San Diego Padres.
Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (0-2) remained in search of his first victory in nearly a year. He gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, which marked his longest outing of the season. He walked none and struck out four. Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
The Pirates jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on Cervelli's first home run of the season. The 12-year veteran swung and missed at a first-pitch fastball, but he connected on the second pitch when Darvish again tried to zip a fastball past him. In the third, Marte clubbed a two-run homer to increase Pittsburgh's lead to 3-0. He pulled a low fastball an estimated 392 feet for his first of the season.
Chicago cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth when Heyward homered to centre field. The towering fly ball landed in the basket just over the wall. It was his fourth home run in 10 games, representing half of his eight home runs in 127 games from a year ago. The Pirates made it 5-1 in the sixth. Bell singled into the right-field corner to score Marte for the first run of the inning. Moments later, Cervelli scored when first baseman Anthony Rizzo could not snag a quick pickoff throw from reliever Kyle Ryan. Javier Baez capped the scoring with an RBI double in the eighth.
(With inputs from agencies.)