PITTSBURGH (AP) — Charlie Morton was effective for the first time this season, allowing two runs in six-plus innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs for the second straight night, 4-2 Wednesday.
Morton (1-5), who entered the game as the worst starter in the majors in terms of ERA (12.57) and was tied for worst with five losses, did not allow a hit in five of his six innings and did not walk a batter to win for the first time since shutting out the Cubs Sept. 30.
Ted Lilly didn't walk a batter and there were no free passes in the game.
Ryan Church homered for the second consecutive game, Garrett Jones had two hits and two RBIs, and Octavio Dotel earned his fifth save in seven opportunities for Pittsburgh, which improved to 9-1 in games decided by two runs or less.
Slumping Aramis Ramirez was moved down to the No. 6 spot in the order but had a hit and an RBI for Chicago.
Morton retired the first eight Cubs before hitting Lilly with a pitch with two outs in the third. He allowed four hits in a two-run fourth but retired the next seven before being lifted when Ramirez singled to lead off the seventh.
In his previous five starts, Morton hadn't allowed less than six runs and had completed at least four innings only once.
Three of the first four Pittsburgh batters of the game had hits against Lilly (1-2), but the Pirates got only one run, Bobby Crosby scoring on Jones' single.
The Pirates began the third with three straight doubles, taking a 3-0 lead when Andrew McCutchen and Jones drove in Andy LaRoche and McCutcheny.
Church's homer was on an 0-1 pitch to right with one out in the sixth. He has reached during all eight games he has appeared in at PNC Park this season.
Lilly was charged with four runs and nine hits with two strikeouts in six innings.
The Cubs' runs came in the fourth: Ramirez's sacrifice fly and Mike Fontenot's RBI single.
NOTES: Ramirez, batting .149 coming in, had batted third, fourth or fifth all season. ... The Pirates are 7-4 at home, 10-1 when scoring at least four runs and 9-0 when leading after four. ... Pittsburgh 1B Steve Pearce made his season debut after being recalled from the minors Tuesday. He went 0 for 3. ... Chicago OF Alfonso Soriano failed to tie a club record by homering in his fifth consecutive game. He went 1 for 4.