CHICAGO – After falling to .500 after losing 2-of-3 to the Rays, it looked like the Cubs were ready to bounce back in a big way against the Pirates early on Thursday at Wrigley Field.

But a fast start on offense wouldn’t lead to a good finish, as the team is now saddled with their longest losing streak of the new year.

After scoring three runs in the first two innings, the Cubs were shut out the rest of the way by Pittsburgh in 4-3 defeat on the north side. It’s the third-straight loss for David Ross’ team as they fall under .500 for the first time this season.

The Pirates struck for two runs in the third and then two in the fifth to shake off the early three-run deficit as they improved to 6-7. Daniel Vogelbach hit a two-run homer off starter Mark Leiter Jr. to get Pittsburgh on the board then Yoshi Tsutsugo’s two-run double in the fifth off Ethan Roberts gave the Pirates the lead to stay.

Meanwhile, the Cubs’ offense could get little generated as only one runner made it to third base for the rest of the evening. In the final seven innings, the team managed just one hit and two walks which sealed their third-straight defeat.

It was a letdown after an encouraging start that began with Frank Schwindel’s walk with the bases loaded that gave him an RBI in a fifth-straight game. Jonathan Villar’s sacrifice fly later in the inning but the Cubs up by two with a Seiya Suzuki groundout plating a third run in the second.

But the outfielder struggled the rest of the time as he struck out three times and failed to get a hit for the third-consecutive contest.