Cubs rough up Cole in series’ opener

Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte plays in a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jason Hammel raised his record to 4-0 and Anthony Rizzo hit two doubles as the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Monday night.

Hammel’s ERA rose to 1.24 after entering the game with a National League-leading 0.75 mark. He gave up two runs and five hits in five-plus innings with three strikeouts and one walk. His streak of five straight starts of allowing one run or fewer ended.

Rizzo hit an RBI double and scored in the third inning as the Cubs went ahead 2-1, then doubled again during a four-run fifth that pushed the lead to 6-1.

The Cubs improved to 18-6, tops in the major leagues, and avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season while winning for the fifth time in six games.

Dexter Fowler had two hits for the Cubs, including a double, and two stolen bases and Javier Baez also had two of Chicago’s 11 hits. David Ross hit a two-run single in the fifth, Ben Zobrist had two RBIs and Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Gerrit Cole (2-3) was roughed up for six runs – five earned – and six hits in 4 2/3 innings after winning his previous two starts. He struck out six but walked four in losing to the Cubs for just the second time in nine regular-season decisions.

Jordy Mercer went 3 for 3 with a walk for Pittsburgh and has reached base in 14 straight games but Josh Harrison’s 10-game hitting streak ended as he went 0 for 4. Andrew McCutchen drove in both Pirates’ run with a first-inning homer, his sixth, and a ground out in the fifth.

The Pirates lost their second straight game after winning six in a row.

The Cubs pulled in front 2-1 in the third inning when Rizzo hit a two-out RBI double and scored on Zobrist’s single.

In addition to Ross’ single, Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Matt Szczur scored on a throwing error by Harrison, the second baseman, on the back end of a delayed double steal attempt.

Zobrist scored on a wild pitch by Kyle Lobstein in the seventh to increase the Cubs’ lead to 7-2.


Home plate umpire Laz Diaz warned both benches after Lobstein hit Zobrist with a pitch to lead off the top of the seventh. That came after Hammel hit the last batter he faced, Starling Marte, with a pitch to start the bottom of the sixth.

The teams had a benches-clearing incident in last year’s NL wild card game when Pirates reliever Tony Watson plunked Jake Arrieta, who went on to a pitch a five-hit shutout. Pittsburgh utility infielder Sean Rodriguez was ejected.


Arrieta (5-0, 1.00) is 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA against the Pirates and will oppose Jon Niese (3-0, 5.08), who is 3-6 against the Cubs.