McCutchen’s 3-run homer 7th helps Pirates beat Cubs 8-7

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run off Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Pedro Strop during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Chicago. (AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Andrew McCutchen got to Wrigley Field on Saturday and was happy to see a 24 mph wind.

“You definitely have quite the advantage when you’re playing in this ballpark when the wind is howling out like that,” he said.

McCutchen hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in a five-run seventh inning that led the Pirates over the Chicago Cubs 8-7.

Pittsburgh has won two straight against the Cubs after going 4-14 against Chicago last season, including 1-8 at Wrigley.

“We’re just focused on right now,” McCutchen said. “One more win than we had last year. We’re in a good spot.”

Francisco Cervelli, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte also homered for Pittsburgh. Chicago led 6-2 before Marte’s solo drive in the sixth inning off starter Jake Arrieta.

Harrison homered with one out in the seventh against Brian Duensing, and Adam Frazier’s RBI single cut the Pirates’ deficit to 6-5.

Pedro Strop (0-1) walked Marte, and McCutchen homered into the first row of the left-field bleachers for an 8-6 lead. He has a .315 career average at Wrigley.

“We kept battling, scratching and clawing all day, never felt like we were out of it,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Kris Bryant cut the deficit in the ninth against Tony Watson with his second home run of the game. Watson struck out Addison Russell with a runner on for his fourth save in as many chances.

“You’ve got to play the elements here,” Bryant said. “When it’s cold and windy blowing in, you’ve got to scratch across a run. Today, obviously the first inning was great, but you never know if that’s going to be enough.”

Trevor Williams (1-0) pitched a one-hit sixth for the win.

Russell had a double, a triple and three RBIs for the Cubs. Arrieta, coming off wins in his first two starts, allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings as his ERA rose to 2.89.

“We didn’t do a lot against Arrieta. We did enough,” Hurdle said. “We were able to run the pitch count up to get him out.”

Pirates starter Tyler Glasnow gave up six runs — four earned — and six hits in five innings.


Chicago took a 4-0 lead in the first as Bryant hit a drive off the video board that would have traveled 451 feet had it landed unimpeded, according to Major League Baseball’s Statcast.

“When a ball is well struck, when you’re on the field level, it absolutely is an impressive, incredible sound,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, is hitting .250 with seven RBIs.


Former Cubs Jason Hammel, Jorge Soler and Travis Wood are expected to receive their World Series rings Monday. They now play for the Royals.


Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco (right groin discomfort) was scratched from the starting lineup. Harrison moved from second base to left field, and Alen Hanson started at second. … INF Jody Mercer had the day off after starting the team’s first 10 games at shortstop. Frazier started at shortstop and led off.


Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (0-0, 1.38 ERA) is set to start the series finale Sunday. He is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against Chicago.

Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 1.64) is 4-3 with a 2.68 ERA in eight starts against Pittsburgh.