Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro hits a three-run home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton during the third inning of a baseball game on Friday, June 20, 2014, in Chicago. Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena also scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: June 20, 2014 11:12PM
The middle of the Cubs’ lineup has been a silver lining in what is expected to be another losing season.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro, who hit third and fourth Friday against the Pirates, appear to be potential cornerstones on a winning ballclub.
Rizzo and Castro combined to drive in five runs in the third inning of the Cubs’ 6-3 victory at Wrigley Field.
With the bases loaded, Rizzo hit a two-run double that scored pitcher Edwin Jackson and second baseman Luis Valbuena. Castro followed with a three-run homer that scored Rizzo and left fielder Chris Coghlan.
In June, Castro has 17 RBI and Rizzo 15.
Coghlan also homered, hitting a solo shot in the fifth. He would have scored in the first if not for a video review.
After hitting a one-out triple, Coghlan was ruled to have scored on a wild pitch by Charlie Morton with Rizzo at bat. But Pirates manage Clint Hurdle correctly challenged the play after Russell Martin indicated he thought Rizzo had tipped the ball.
As a result, Rizzo struck out. Then Castro flew out to right field, stranding Coghlan at third.
Cubs starter Edwin Jackson allowed five hits, three earned runs and two walks and struck out eight in five innings. The Pirates scored all of their runs in the fifth on Jordy Mercer’s three-run homer off Jackson.