Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer and drove in three, Charlie Morton had seven strikeouts in seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates powered past the Chicago Cubs, 6-2, on Monday night to open a four-game series.
The Pirates have now beaten the Cubs three times this season with Morton (3-7) on the mound, though the right-hander finally earned his first decision in the games.
Working economically most of the night, Morton gave up just six hits and a run without walking a batter and threw 59 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
"I pitched a little differently, a little less to contact," said Morton, who gave up five runs in 12 innings in his first two starts against Chicago this season.
Ike Davis also homered and Starling Marte had three hits and two RBI for the Pirates.
Edwin Jackson (4-6) opposed Morton for the third time this season and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
Jared Hughes gave up a leadoff homer to Starlin Castro in the ninth inning, but settled in to get the last three outs for Pittsburgh.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead after Pedro Alvarez hit a leadoff single in the second inning and scored on Marte's double down the left-field line.
McCutchen went the other way with a fastball for a two-out homer to right field after Travis Snider reached on a ground-rule double in the third inning.
The reigning NL MVP then followed Snider's single in the fifth inning with a drive off the right-field wall for an RBI double and 4-0 Pittsburgh lead.
Morton threw just seven pitches in the first inning and was stingy early on. Only one Cubs runner made it past first before Anthony Rizzo hit a two-out single in the sixth and scored on Castro's double off the wall in right that trimmed Chicago's deficit to 4-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Marte was tagged out in a rundown between third base and home plate after the Cubs, correctly guessing a squeeze bunt or steal was on the way, pitched out to catch him.
Davis hit a leadoff homer in the eighth and Marte added an RBI double later in the frame to make it 6-1.
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was scratched from the game with abdominal pain and later had an appendectomy. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Josh Harrison filled in at second base and Snider took Harrison's spot in right field ... Morton improved to 3-1 with 24 strikeouts in his last four tarts since going winless (0-6) in his first nine outings this season ... The
teams are meeting for the first time since playing six games against each other in the first weeks of the season. The Pirates went 4-2 in those games ... The Cubs started a 10-game road trip.