Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez, right, hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Chicago, Ill. (AP photo/Joe Raymond)
CHICAGO (AP) — A.J. Burnett pitched into the ninth inning and Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin homered to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Burnett (4-6) gave up four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 8 1-3 innings to improve to 5-0 in his career at Wrigley Field. He had a shutout until Alfonso Soriano’s two-run home run to left with one out in the ninth ended a string of 18 straight scoreless innings by Pirates pitchers.
Burnett held the Cubs hitless until Nate Schierholtz’s double down the line in right leading off the fifth. He threw 112 pitches and left after Soriano’s home run.
Burnett threw a one-hitter in his last start at Wrigley Field last July 31. He lost the no-hitter in the eighth inning with two outs. Over his last 23 innings at Wrigley Field Burnett has allowed two runs and seven hits
Soriano’s homer was the 379th of his career, tying him with Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 64th on the all-time list.
The Pirates tagged Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (3-7) for eight hits, including Alvarez’s two-run home run in the fourth, his team-high 13th of the year. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one in six innings.
Martin’s homer, a two-run shot in the eighth off reliever Hector Rondon, was the 100th of his career.
The Pirates jumped on Samardzija for a run in the second on Garrett Jones’ double and Alvarez’s one-out RBI single. Pittsburgh added a run in the third when Starling Marte ended a streak of 14 hitless at-bats with a single, stole second and came in on Travis Snider’s single.
Alvarez homered to right field after Martin led off with a walk in the fourth to increase the Pirates’ lead to 4-0.
In the eighth, Martin sent a 3-2 pitch by Rondon into the seats in left for a two-out home run after Andrew McCutchen had drawn a walk.
Pittsburgh beat Chicago for the fifth straight time and handed the Cubs their fifth loss in the last six games overall.
NOTES: Pittsburgh RHP Jeff Karstens, on the disabled list since March 26 with a shoulder inflammation, had surgery Friday on his right rotator cuff and labrum in Los Angeles. He’ll be able to begin a rehab process in 10 to 12 weeks. … The Pirates placed RHP Jared Hughes on the 15-day disabled list with a throwing shoulder inflammation and recalled OF Alex Presley from Triple-A Indianapolis. Presley had been sent down Monday when Hughes was called up. Hughes has returned to Pittsburgh for more evaluation. … Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fuikawa, who went on the 60-day DL May 27 with a muscular strain in his right forearm, is expected to have surgery Tuesday after an exam on Monday. … Cubs SS Starlin Castro, dropped from second to seventh in the order on June 4, continued to struggle. He went 0 for 3 and is mired in a 3-for-34 slump. … Sunday’s pitchers: Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45) vs. Chicago right-hander Edwin Jackson (1-8, 6.29).