Chicago, IL – Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Russell Martin had two hits, two runs scored and the game-winning sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to help the Pittsburgh Pirates top the Chicago Cubs, 7-6, in the opener of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Pittsburgh's led 6-4 through five, but the Cubs tacked on a run in both the sixth and seventh innings to tie it. Pedro Strop (0-1) took the hill for Chicago in the top of the eighth and walked a pair before giving way to James Russell, who surrendered a walk to Pedro Alvarez to load the bags for Martin. His sacrifice fly to right plated Starling Marte for the final margin.
"It was a fist fight off the mound for us most of the night. We executed extremely well in the first inning on offense and kept building innings," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Tony Watson (2-0) took the win after yielding a run in the seventh, Mark Melancon worked a perfect bottom of the eighth and Jason Grilli shut the door in the ninth for his second save of the season.
Alvarez and Travis Ishikawa drove in two runs apiece for Pittsburgh, which took 2-of-3 from Chicago to start the season. Marte scored three times and stole two bags in the triumph.
Emilio Bonifacio and Starlin Castro had three hits apiece for the Cubs, with the latter posting his first career multi-homer game. Castro drove in four of Chicago's six runs.
Alvarez put Pittsburgh on the board in the top of the first with a two-run double to the gap in right-center. It was the slugger's first two-bagger of the season.
Alvarez came around to score on a Neil Walker single two batters later, and Ishikawa plated a run with his sacrifice fly. The Bucs led 4-0 before starter Charlie Morton took the hill.
Morton, who gave up five runs on eight hits. quickly lost the lead. The Cubs got a run back in the second on Bonifacio's RBI single to center. Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena then singled in the third to put two on for Castro, who belted a 1-2 offering over the wall in left to tie it.
"Had we laid down after the first inning, giving up four runs, I would have been extremely disappointed," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
Pittsburgh went back in front a half inning later on Andrew McCutchen's RBI single to center and padded the cushion on an Ishikawa RBI triple in the fifth.
Edwin Jackson was torched for six runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 frames.
Chicago fought back to briefly tie it. Castro made it 6-5 with his solo shot in the sixth off Morton, and Rizzo singled home Bonifacio to knot it at 6-6 in the seventh.
Pittsburgh hit just 4-of-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base ... Chicago pitchers walked seven batters ... Bonifacio has at least two hits in 5-of-7 games this season and is hitting 14-for-21 against the Pirates in four meetings.