5 HRs not enough as Pirates fall to Cubs 7-5

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 9, 2014 at 11:41 pm •  Published: April 9, 2014
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CHICAGO (AP) — Russell Martin struggled to recall the last time he witnessed such wacky production from his team's offense.

The Pittsburgh Pirates hit five home runs against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, including two home runs each from Martin and Pedro Alvarez. The problem was Pittsburgh finished with only one other hit and never had a runner in scoring position during a 7-5 loss to the Cubs.

"You can chalk that one up to Wrigley Field because a lot of crazy things can happen here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "At the end of the day, the hole was dug a little deeper than we were able to climb out of."

For the second time in less than a week, Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel puzzled the Pirates.

Signed to a one-year, $6 million contract over the offseason, Hammel (2-0) won his Cubs debut when he beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He got off to another good start in this one, retiring the first 12 batters until Alvarez's first homer of the game tied it to start the fifth.

"I got my first taste of Wrigley," Hammel said. "I hope they're much kinder next time. When the wind's howling out, you've got to keep the ball down. Made three mistakes today and they all left the yard, so I think a couple of those are outs in other ballparks, but still nonetheless, got to keep the ball down."

Hammel allowed three runs and three hits — all solo homers — while striking out six. Mike Olt and Junior Lake hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth against Wandy Rodriguez (0-2).

"When's he down he's got good movement on his fastball," Martin said of Hammel. "The bottom line is he's making pitches. That's really all it is. Obviously we're not taking advantage of every opportunity, but he's doing a good job you've got to give him some credit."

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo's four hits tied a career high, and it was his career-best fourth straight multihit game.

Alvarez and Martin each got their second homer in the ninth off Pedro Strop, and Travis Snider also went deep. It was Alvarez's second multihomer game of the season and ninth of his career, and it the eighth of Martin's career.

Chicago's Emilio Bonifacio, who entered leading the majors with 17 hits and a .515 batting average, was 2 for 5 with two runs scored for an offense that has scored 21 runs in its last three games after getting eight in its first five.

Rodriguez, whom Hammel beat April 3, took his second loss against the Cubs. He went five innings, giving up four runs and nine hits, keeping the Pirates from clinching their third straight series win to start the season, something they haven't done since 1992. Rodriguez missed most of 2013 with a left forearm injury and Hurdle called his performance an "optimistic outing."

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