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Pirates top Cubs

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez each plated a run and Jeff Locke returned to form on the mound as the Pittsburgh Pirates nabbed a 3-1 victory from the Chicago Cubs to begin an 11-game homestand.

Locke (10-5) had been winless in his last nine starts, but on Thursday, he resembled the pitcher that earned him All-Star recognition for his first half efforts. He went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with just one walk. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.

Mark Melancon had runners on first and second in the ninth, but retired three in a row to notch his 14th save and secure Pittsburgh's fourth straight win. The team can move into a first place tie atop the NL Central with a St. Louis loss to Milwaukee on Thursday.

Chris Rusin (2-4) was a tough luck loser, scattering two runs on four hits over seven frames. Starlin Castro drove in the lone run for the Cubs, who have dropped three of their last five games.

09/12 21:52:51 ET