Cubs Fall to Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Thunderstorms arrived at PNC Park about an hour before the start of Wednesday night’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, causing a delay of the scheduled first pitch until 7:40 p.m. (CST).

When play resumed, Cubs starter Jason Hammel didn’t look as sharp as he had in his previous two starts.

Hammel walked Josh Harrison on four pitches in the bottom of the first. Andrew McCutchen followed later with a deep drive to left field, where Chris Coghlan leaped over the fence, but the ball grazed off Coghlan’s outstretched glove for a two-run home run as the Pirates held on for a 4-2 win.

McCutchen’s home run snapped Hammel’s streak of 14 conseuctive scoreless innings as well as his streak of 51 2/3 innings without allowing a homer.

The Cubs rallied in the top of the second on a single by catcher John Baker and a grounder by Darwin Barney, but the Pirates regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded grounder by rookie Gregory Polanco.

Hammel was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth. He allowed a season-high 11 hits in five innings, marking his shortest outing of the season.

Luis Valbuena had three hits in four at-bats and has raised his batting average from .207 to .287 since May 13.

But Valbuena’s double in the third and his single in the fifth with the only hits by the Cubs in the final six innings against starter Brandon Cumpton and four relievers.

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