Sunday’s result: Cubs 4, Pirates 3 (11 inn.)
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 7, 2013 5:14PM
Chicago Cubs' Julio Borbon, right, is safe at first after hitting a single as Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Bryan Morris can't make the catch during the 10th inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, July 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The Cubs needed extra innings Sunday to finish what seemed in hand in the ninth.
The 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh in 11 innings made for the right ending after a ninth inning blown save for closer Kevin Gregg and 10th inning fielding error by second baseman Darwin Barney--ending a string of 71 errorless games to start the season for the Gold Glove winner.
The victory came after Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano each singled leading the 11th. After Luis Valbuena attempted to sacrifice, catcher Russell Martin made an errant throw to second and both runners advanced.
Pitcher Bryan Morris then intentionally walked Valbuena and pinch hitter Dioner Navarro hit a sacrifice fly for the win.
It gave the Cubs their fifth series win in the last seven while the National League Central-leading Pirates lost back to back games for the first time June 3-5.
Barney was playing in short right field in a shift against Garrett Jones when he bobbled the ground ball. But he started a double play on the next play.
The Cubs were one strike away from a 3-2 victory, with two strikeouts by Gregg and a 3-2 count on Sterling Marte. But he hit the next pitch out for his ninth homer of the season and a 3-3 tie.
Before the ninth, Scott Hairston’s pinch hit home run for the Cubs in the seventh broke a 2-2 tie
Hairston’s two-out homer off Tony Watson was the 10th pinch hit homer of his career. It gave the Cubs the series against the National League Central-leading Pirates, who hadn’t lost back-to-back games since June 3 - 5 when they were swept in three games in Atlanta.
Carlos Villanueva started for the Cubs and worked four innings in his second start since returning to the rotation. Manager Dale Sveum has said the righthander would likely be limited to four as he stretches out to start.
He held the Pirates to one run on three hits, walked one and struck out five before leaving leading 2-1.
The Pirates tied the game with a run in the fifth off Hector Rondon, who worked 1 2/3 innings. The game remained tied until Hairston’s homer with two outs in the seventh off Watson.
It was Hairston’s eighth homer of the season but first as a pinch hitter this year.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett worked five innings in his return from the disabled list with a right calf strain. He was activated before the game.
The Cubs had only three hits off Burnett, but they scored an unearned run in the third after first baseman Garrett Jones bobbled a ground ball off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. Villanueva scored on the play and Starlin Castro advanced to third after reaching on a double.
Castro scored on Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly.