Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Michael McKenry and Starling Marte homered to back a strong start by Jeff Karstens, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 8-4 on Wednesday.
Garrett Jones added two hits and drove in three runs after entering in the eighth as a pinch-hitter. Andrew McCutchen chipped in with two hits and scored three times, and the Pirates pulled away late.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Pittsburgh started a five-run eighth with seven straight hits against Shawn Camp and sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
Jones, batting for Gaby Sanchez, drove in two with a single and McKenry made it 7-1 with a three-run drive to left — his 10th homer. Just like that, the Pirates could breathe a little easier.
That late burst aside, it was a rather quiet day at Wrigley Field after a wild one on Tuesday. Not only did the Cubs trade pitcher Ryan Dempster to Texas before the non-waiver deadline, A.J. Burnett tossed a one-hitter for Pittsburgh.
Karstens (4-2) wasn’t quite as dominant, but he sure was good. He allowed three hits and one run over five innings, striking out four and walking one.
He settled down after Starlin Castro’s solo homer to left in the first and retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
Travis Wood (4-7) was a tough-luck loser and dropped his fourth straight start after winning four in a row. He gave up two runs and three hits over five innings, but two plays in the third cost him.
First, he gave up a leadoff homer to Marte. Then, the left-hander balked in another run to make it 2-1.
Otherwise, Wood pitched well enough, but the Cubs couldn’t get anything going until the ninth. The Pirates brought in closer Joel Hanrahan with an 8-1 lead and he gave up three runs, including a two-run homer by Welington Castillo.
NOTES: Sanchez started at first and was 0 for 2 with a walk in his Pirates debut. He was acquired from Florida before Tuesday’s trade deadline and was looking forward to a fresh start. “I think it will be good coming over here,” said Sanchez, who entered with a .202 batting average. “A relaxed coaching staff. A relaxed team. Everybody wants to have fun.” The past few days have been eventful for Sanchez. Along with the trade there was the birth of his daughter on Friday. ... The Pirates optioned pitcher Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room on the roster for reliever Chad Qualls. ... Chicago optioned RHP Casey Coleman to Triple-A Iowa and recalled right-handers Chris Volstad and Alberto Cabrera from the minor league club. Volstad and Cabrera were available out of the bullpen, although Volstad could fill a hole in the rotation. ... The Cubs held 2B Darwin Barney out of the lineup after he got hit in the helmet by a pitch from Burnett in the eighth on Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s anything major, but obviously, he got hit in the head,” manager Dale Sveum said. “There was some ringing in his ear, but he’s fine today.”