May 31, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton (58) pitches the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Nearing .500 With Win Over Cubs

The Pittsburgh Pirates rode seven strong innings from starter Brandon Cumpton on Sunday afternoon to defeat the Cubs 2-1 at Wrigley Field and take two out of three in their weekend series. The victory permitted the Pirates to capture their fourth straight series on the road.

In his lucky 13 big league starts, it was the sixth time that the 25-year old righthander shutout the opponent through five and only the second time that he was able to hang around to contribute more zeros on the scorecard. Cumpton walked just two and struck out four while giving up two hits on a total of 87 pitches.

He has thrown seven innings twice before in his career, last July 30th against the Cardinals, and on April 24th of this year against the Reds. Cumpton improved his record to 3-2 while also allowing the Bucs to reach 37-38 on the season. The Jolly Roger crew are one game closer to .500, and perhaps closer to moving up one more rung in the National League Central.

The bullpen answered Clint Hurdle’s call as Tony Watson gave up two hits and struck out two in handling the eighth. Mark Melancon surrendered two hits, one earned run, and struck out one to claim his 12th save while closing out the ninth.

Cubs’ righthander Jason Hammel saw his record move to 6-5 as he gave up six hits, two earned runs while throwing 108 pitches over seven innings.

Pittsburgh got on the scoreboard in the third inning when Travis Snider led off the frame with a solo home run to left-center. Chris Stewart followed with a walk, was sacrificed to second, and scored on Josh Harrison’s two-out RBI single that hit Hammel near the left hip.

While rookie rightfielder Gregory Polanco saw his career-opening 11-game hitting streak come to an end in the Windy City, he did pick up his first big-league stolen base in the eighth.

The Bucs continue their six-day road trip with a visit to the Sunshine State to take on the Rays for a three-game set in Tampa. The first pitch is scheduled at 7:10 p.m. on Monday. Tampa will send righthander Alex Cobb (2-5, 3.48 ERA) to the hill while Pittsburgh will counter with Edinson Volquez (4-6, 4.67 ERA).

The 30-year-old righthander will be making his 15th start and his 16th appearance of the season on Monday night. He has been charged with two earned runs or fewer in nine of his first 14 starting assignments. The game will be broadcast by ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.

Tags: MLB Pittsburgh Pirates

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