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Updated: April 3, 2014 4:38PM



PITTSBURGH – Mike Olt hit his first career home run, and new starting pitcher Jason Hammel pitched 6 2/3 strong innings as the Cubs earned their first victory of the season, 3-2 Thursday afternoon in rainy Pittsburgh.

The Cubs, who scored three runs total in 26 previous innings the first two games in Pittsburgh, scored in each of the first three innings to take a 3-0 lead.

The Pirates made it close with a two-out rally in the seventh. Neil Walker’s two-out walk chased Hammel, and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez doubled off reliever James Russell to put runners at second and third.

After another pitching change, Tony Sanchez singled home two runs off Justin Grimm to cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.

With closer Jose Veras unavailable because of a high pitch count in Wednesday night’s 16-inning game, Pedro Strop pitched the ninth to earn the save – but not before allowing the potential tying run to reach on a leadoff single.

The Cubs return home Friday for their Wrigley Field opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.



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