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Hammel strong again, Cubs beat Pirates 7-5

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm •  Published: April 9, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — Anthony Rizzo congratulated Jason Hammel for his first National League win after the Chicago Cubs topped the Houston Astros.

Only, it wasn't.

Not even Hammel's first this season.

Hammel threw seven strong innings, Rizzo tied a career high with four hits, and Chicago won 7-5 on Wednesday night despite allowing five solo home runs. But Rizzo apparently forgot about Hammel's victory last week — or the 27 the veteran right-hander had with Colorado.

"Just make sure that everybody knows that Rizzo was not there with us in Pittsburgh last week," a joking Hammel said. "It's a good one. It's a good one.

"I didn't know I didn't win at all in Colorado, either."

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 Pedro Alvarez's first homer of the game tied it to start the fifth. Hammel allowed three runs and three hits — all solo homers — while striking out six.

Rizzo had his career-best fourth straight multi-hit game, Mike Olt and Junior Lake hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth against Wandy Rodriguez (0-2). Emilio Bonifacio, who entered leading the majors with 17 hits and a .515 batting average, was 2 for 5. Bonifacio had two runs for an offense that has scored 21 runs in its last three games after getting eight in its first five.

"We had some well-struck balls," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "They did there at the end, too, so it was a good night to hit."

The Pirates found that out as well on a night where the wind was blowing steadily out.

Alvarez and Russell Martin homered twice for the Pirates, each getting their second 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, but Pittsburgh only had one hit besides its five solo home runs.

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