PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Garrett Jones homered and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 on Monday.
The Pirates were coming off a 1-6 road trip and had lost nine of 11, only to beat the Cubs for the eighth time in nine meetings dating to the final week of last season. The Pirates were 6-1 in May against the Cubs but were 5-17 against the rest of the NL.
Jones' ninth homer of the season tied it at 1 in the sixth, and he doubled leading off the eighth against reliever Sean Marshall (5-2). After Lastings Milledge grounded out and Ryan Doumit was intentionally walked, Crosby lined a 3-2 pitch by Marshall into center field to score Jones.
Evan Meek (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory, and Octavio Dotel finished up for his 11th save in 13 opportunities by striking out a slumping Ryan Theriot to end the game. The Pirates won despite scoring three runs or fewer for the 11th time in 12 games.
Cubs starter Randy Wells pitched five shutout innings on two days' rest after failing to retire a batter in his previous start, a 7-1 loss Friday to St. Louis in which he allowed six hits on 16 pitches. Wells left with a 1-0 lead, but that disappeared in three pitches by reliever James Russell as Jones homered into the right-field seats.
Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf, 0-3 this season and winless in 10 starts since Aug. 18, also pitched effectively but didn't figure in the decision. He struck out six, walked two while allowing three hits over seven innings, and a mixup by the Pirates' outfield led to the only run he allowed.
Alfonso Soriano tripled into the left-center gap with one out in the second on a fly ball that center fielder Andrew McCutchen was in position to catch, only to pull up at the last moment to avoid colliding into left fielder Ryan Church. McCutchen could be seen calling for the ball, but Church continued to pursue it until he and McCutchen were nearly side-by-side.
Soriano, who came in batting .211 in his previous 12 games, then scored on Geovany Soto's grounder.
The Pirates, deficient defensively most of the season, had one of their best games in the field. Despite the Soriano fly ball misplay, McCutchen roamed far to his right to slide on his left hip and catch Soriano's line drive in the sixth inning. In the eighth, third baseman Andy LaRoche likely prevented a run from scoring by making an excellent play on Mike Fontenot's two-out grounder with a runner on third.
NOTES: The Cubs sat down Theriot, who was 5 for 35 in his previous eight games, but he entered the game during a double switch in the eighth. Fontenot started at 2B. ... Wells became the first Cubs pitcher to start twice in four days since Mike Bielecki on June 12 & 15, 1990. ... Cubs pitching prospect Andrew Cashner made his major league debut, retiring Ronny Cedeno on a pop-up to end the eighth on the only pitch he threw.