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Back-to-back home runs lift Cubs over Pirates
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Junior Lake and Mike Olt smacked back-to- back home runs in the fifth inning to help the Chicago Cubs to a 7-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle test of a three-game set from Wrigley Field.
Jason Hammel (2-0) went seven strong innings for the Cubs, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out six. Anthony Rizzo went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored while Emilio Bonifacio continued his torrid start to the campaign, recording two more hits in the triumph. Bonifacio now has 19 hits in eight games.
Pittsburgh got its five runs on five solo homers, including a pair from both Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin. Travis Snider also went yard for the Pirates.
"I got my first taste of Wrigley," joked Hammel, who signed with Chicago over the winter. "When the wind's howling out, you have to keep the ball down. I only made three mistakes today, and they all left the yard."
Jose Tabata's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning was the only Pittsburgh hit that did not leave the ballpark.
Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) was tagged for four runs on nine hits over five innings of work.
Olt's two-run homer with two outs in the fifth broke a 1-1 tie and put the Cubs in front. Lake followed with his first of the year and after five, Chicago held a 4-1 advantage.
The visitors tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Rizzo plated Bonifacio with a double to center, Olt singled home Justin Ruggiano and Lake made it, 7-1, when Rizzo scored on his fielder's choice.
From there, Chicago survived a pair of two-run innings. Snider opened the top of the seventh with a solo shot to center and with two outs in the inning, Martin belted one just over the ivory for a 7-3 margin.
Pedro Strop took the hill for the ninth and induced an Andrew McCutchen groundout before Alvarez and Martin hit consecutive jacks. Strop struck out the next two batters he faced to end the game.
"No matter what the store is, we're going to give our best effort," said Martin. "Today they were better than us. They scored more runs. We're trying to win the series tomorrow."
Earlier, Ruggiano's RBI double in the first inning gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead, and Alvarez tied it when he led off the top of the fifth with a home run.
Travis Wood and Gerrit Cole are set to take the hill in Thursday's rubber match. The Pirates took 2-of-3 from Chicago in Pittsburgh to kick off the campaign.
The Cubs went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base. Pittsburgh did not have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position ... Chicago catcher Welington Castillo had his first multi-hit game of the season, finishing 2-for-3 with a double.
04/10 00:43:58 ET