Cody Ransom spoiled a great weekend for the Pirates.
The Cubs’ 37-year-old third baseman crushed a 96-mph fastball from lefty reliever Justin Wilson for a three-run home run in the seventh inning. It followed singles by Ryan Sweeney and Darwin Barney, helping the Cubs win 4-1 and aoid a sweep before 31,858 at Wrigley Field.
Before the seventh, the Cubs had only 10 hits in 26 innings against the Pirates, who entered the game holding opponents to a .223 batting average. The all-time record is .225 by the 1965 Dodgers.
Lefty Jeff Locke had flirted with a no-hitter despite command issues. He struck out six and walked seven, all before losing the no-hitter on a two-out single by Dioner Navarro in the sixth. The Cubs had tied the score 1-1 earlier in the sixth, with a sacrifice fly scoring Ransom. He had walked and alertly moved from first to third on a groundout when Pedro Alvarez left third base uncovered after playing near second in a shift.
Edwin Jackson (2-8) held the Pirates to four hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one. Kevin Gregg, who improved to 7-for-7 in save chances, and Carlos Marmol worked the last two innings.