ChiCub 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3
Pit 0 1 1 1 1 2 0 1 X 7
Date of game: 9/12/2014

Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago Cubs

Pittsburgh, PA ( - Jordy Mercer knocked in three runs, Neil Walker had two RBI and the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Chicago Cubs 7-3 in the opener of a three-game set at PNC Park.

Josh Harrison, who is chasing the NL batting title, raised his average to .318 with a three-hit effort for Pittsburgh.

Chris Stewart had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who have won seven of their last eight games. They remained 2 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis and 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot.

Gerrit Cole (9-5) continued his mastery of the Cubs, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings. Cole, who struck out six and walked one, has won each of his five career starts against Chicago.

Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara both hit solo homers for Chicago, which has dropped a season-worst seven straight games.

Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada (4-3) was tagged for four runs on nine hits and walked two in 4 1/3 innings.

Chicago trimmed its deficit to 4-3 in the sixth on Welington Castillo's RBI single. Cole got Alcantara on a popup behind the plate to escape a bases- loaded jam later in the inning.

"I was just going to keep trying to make good pitches. Things got a little funny in the sixth. I just tried to keep my emotions in check the best way I could and focus on every pitch," Cole said.

Mercer put the Pirates up 6-3 with a two-run single in the home sixth, and Walker singled home Andrew McCutchen in the eighth.

Stewart drove in the game's first run with a bloop single in the second. Chicago second baseman Logan Watkins nearly made an over-the-shoulder grab in shallow right-center field, but his drop allowed Gaby Sanchez to score.

Sanchez had been credited with a double after Cubs right fielder Ryan Kalish's sliding near-catch.

Wada gave up three singles in the third, including a soft liner to Walker that made it 2-0.

A drive to left field by Baez put Chicago on the board in the fourth, but Pittsburgh got the run back in the bottom of the inning on Mercer's RBI single.

The teams traded runs again in the fifth as Alcantara homered and pinch-hitter Ike Davis plated Jose Tabata with a sacrifice fly.

"They scored some runs, we responded. It was a little better game for us today I thought," said Chicago manager Rick Renteria.

Game Notes

The Pirates upped their record to 13-4 against the Cubs this season ... Pittsburgh was 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Illinois State rallies into FCS title game

If ever there was doubt about the Missouri Valley Football Conference being the top conference in the FCS, Illinois State provided a reminder on Saturday.

Lions clinch playoff spot

Landover, MD (Sports Network) - The Detroit Lions clinched a playoff spot on Saturday due to the Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the Washington Redskins.

Giants acquire McGehee from Marlins

The San Francisco Giants have acquired infielder Casey McGehee from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league pitchers Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo.

Anthony to play in Knicks-Suns tilt

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will play in Saturday's game against the Phoenix Suns after sitting out the team's previous outing due to soreness in his left knee.

Vancouver's Hansen collapses on bench

Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen collapsed on the bench during the second period of Saturday's game against the Calgary Flames and had to be helped to the locker room.

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