Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Gregory Polanco went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, in the finale of a four-game set at PNC Park on a cold Thursday afternoon.
Josh Harrison added a pair of doubles and scored twice for the Pirates, who salvaged a split of this series despite temperatures in the low 40s. Sean Rodriguez added a homer for Pittsburgh, which has won two straight to conclude a 10-game homestand with five wins to get back to the .500 mark at 8-8.
Starlin Castro had two hits and scored a run for the Cubs, who blew a three- run lead to move to 2-2 on their current seven-game road trip.
Cubs phenom Kris Bryant started in center field for the first time since his call-up on Friday. He had started his first six games at third base. he finished the game 0-for-3 with an RBI to see his five-game hitting streak come to a halt.
With the game tied 4-4, the Pirates went ahead for good in the seventh. Harrison started the rally with a one-out double off reliever Brian Schlitter. Then, after Phil Coke came on for Schlitter, pinch-hitter Corey Hart was intentionally walked before Polanco singled home Harrison with the go-ahead run.
"(Polanco) battled that at-bat," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "This was one of the best team wins since I've been here."
Schlitter (0-2) got the loss, allowing one run in one inning of work.
Pittsburgh's Radhames Liz (1-1) got the win, tossing two innings of one-hit ball in relief for starter Jeff Locke. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his third save of the season.
Locke was charged with four runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking three in five innings.
His counterpart, Chicago starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, surrendered three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 frames.
"We have to start putting up some lower numbers overall," Hendricks said of the Cubs starting corps. "It'll come. It's still early and we're still getting that feel."
Chicago got a pair of runs in the second when Jonathan Herrera tripled home Wellington Castillo and Addison Russell, but the Pirates cut the deficit in half in the home half with Rodriguez's solo homer.
The Cubs added another run in the fourth when Russell doubled home Castro, who singled to start the frame and moved to second on Castillo's ground out.
Then, in the fifth, Bryant drew a one-out bases-loaded walk to increase the lead to three runs. Locke, though, pitched out of any further trouble by getting Castro to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
"If we don't get that double-play right there, it's a different game," added Hurdle. "We stayed in it."
That proved important as the Pirates rallied to tie the game in the sixth. Polanco doubled home Harrison with the first run of the frame, forcing Hendricks from the game with one out in the inning. Neil Walker greeted reliever Edwin Jackson with a base hit to chase home Polanco and Walker later scored on Jordy Mercer's base hit to make it 4-4.
The Cubs lost consecutive games for the first time this season ... Castro has a six-game hitting streak ... Russell's RBI was the first of his career ... The Cubs continue their road trip Friday in Cincinnati ... Pittsburgh travels to Arizona to start a nine-game swing.