Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Andrew McCutchen continued his recent tear, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-0, in the finale of a four-game series.
McCutchen, who had homered in three straight games, had two doubles to extend his hitting streak to eight games. The reigning National League MVP has 15 extra-base hits this month (nine doubles and six homers).
Jordy Mercer and Russell Martin each knocked in a run for the Pirates, who won three of the games in this set to finish a seven-game homestand with a 4-3 mark.
Pittsburgh starter Edinson Volquez (4-5) tossed seven scoreless innings, giving up seven hits while striking out five and walking two. He improved to 6-0 lifetime against the Cubs.
Jeff Samardzija (2-6) allowed four runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts over six-plus innings for Chicago, which has lost four of five.
"Probably the most impressive [aspect] was the way we were able to battle against one of the best pitchers in the league throughout the lineup," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "The at-bats, we were able to stretch him out a little bit."
The Pirates almost got on the board in the third. Clint Barmes led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, but was thrown out at the plate when Gregory Polanco flied out to right. Nate Schierholtz made a great throw and John Baker applied the tag to keep it a scoreless game.
Pittsburgh did score during its next at-bat. McCutchen doubled to center, advanced to third on Ike Davis' single and crossed the plate on Martin's ground-rule double down the right-field line. After Pedro Alvarez was intentionally walked to load the bases, Mercer hit a sacrifice fly to center. The home team filled the bags again before Volquez struck out looking to end the inning.
The home team tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Polanco and Starling Marte hit consecutive singles. Both runners scored on McCutchen's double to left-center field. McCutchen was tagged out at third.
"Jeff had really good life to his pitches, but his command didn't seem to be as good as he has been previously," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria.
The Cubs left men on second and third in the fifth and sixth frames.
Pittsburgh pitcher Tony Watson struck out the side in the eighth, extending his scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings.
Pittsburgh improved to 7-3 against the Cubs this season ... The Pirates had seven doubles ... Chicago went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight ... The start of the game was delayed 21 minutes because of rain, and play was stopped again in the seventh for one hour, 14 minutes ... Samardzija fell to 4-4 lifetime against the Pirates ... Pittsburgh selected the contract of infielder Michael Martinez from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game and optioned pitcher Casey Sadler to Indianapolis ...Cubs leadoff batter Emilio Bonifacio left in the first inning with a right rib cage injury and did not return ... The Pirates go to Miami for a three-game series against the Marlins starting Friday ... The Cubs continue a 10-game road trip in hiladelphia, where they will start a three-game series on Friday.