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Top half of lineup produces for Pirates in 4-0 win against Cubs

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 11:39 p.m.
 

With Josh Harrison's ankle still hurting on Thursday, manager Clint Hurdle gave Gregory Polanco a shot at batting leadoff for the Pirates' series finale against the Chicago Cubs.

Following Polanco, who was playing in just his third major league game, were fellow speedy outfielders Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, which Hurdle admitted made for a nice looking starting three.

“It looks really good, Polanco, Marte, McCutchen,” Hurdle said before the game. “That's not why we're doing it, but it does look good.”

Polanco, who was 1 for 4 with a strikeout, was out in a close play at first to open the game, and Marte and McCutchen struck out. But the trio produced a pair of runs in the fifth inning to help the Pirates take the series with a 4-0 win.

Polanco led off the inning with a hard ground ball up the middle past Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (2-6), and Marte followed with a single down the left-field line. McCutchen, who'd already found the North Side notch the inning before for a one-out double, went back there again for a two-run hit.

After he popped up out of his slide, however, McCutchen turned to the dugout in the beginnings of a celebration. His momentum carried him forward and his foot came off the bag. Luis Valbuena tagged him just before McCutchen got it back down for the out. Hurdle challenged and lost, and the hit was ruled a double.

“I guess that's why they say stay humble in this game because crazy stuff like that happens,” McCutchen said. “Popping up, get all excited, next thing you know I'm floating over the bag and his glove's right there. I'll try and stay on the bag next time.”

June is shaping up to be a monstrous month for McCutchen, who is 18 for 42 with 14 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits in 11 games.

Catcher Russell Martin also had another big night, going 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI in the fourth inning, when the Pirates scored their first two runs.

They didn't need any more with Edinson Volquez (4-5) pitching seven scoreless innings. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

“I think I just did what I was supposed to do, go and compete with Samardzija,” Volquez said. “He's one of the top guys in the National League. It was a good performance.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates second baseman Clint Barmes dives over Cubs catcher John Baker at home plate during the third inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park. Barmes was out on the play.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates second baseman Clint Barmes dives over Cubs catcher John Baker at home plate during the third inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park. Barmes was out on the play.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen jumps back from an inside pitch during the first inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen jumps back from an inside pitch during the first inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez slides into second base past an errant throw to the Cubs' Darwin Barney during the fourth inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez slides into second base past an errant throw to the Cubs' Darwin Barney during the fourth inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco singles during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco singles during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco guns a throw to home plate during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco guns a throw to home plate during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates second baseman Clint Barmes tags out the Cubs' Junior Lake during the first inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates second baseman Clint Barmes tags out the Cubs' Junior Lake during the first inning Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez works through a downpour during the sixth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez works through a downpour during the sixth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg calls for the tarp during a downpour in the seventh inning of the Pirates' game against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg calls for the tarp during a downpour in the seventh inning of the Pirates' game against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen doubles during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen doubles during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to the plate in a downpour during the sixth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to the plate in a downpour during the sixth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates after driving in two runs with a triple during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park. McCutchen's momentum pulled him off the base, and he was tagged out.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates after driving in two runs with a triple during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park. McCutchen's momentum pulled him off the base, and he was tagged out.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates catcher Russell Martin drives in a run with a double during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates catcher Russell Martin drives in a run with a double during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates after driving in two runs with a triple during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates after driving in two runs with a triple during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to the plate during the second inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to the plate during the second inning against the Cubs on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - PNC Park ushers watch as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates game against the Chicago Cubs.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>PNC Park ushers watch as Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates game against the Chicago Cubs.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger makes a leaping catch while shagging fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger makes a leaping catch while shagging fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shags fly balls in the outfield at PNC Park during batting practice Thursday, June 12, 2014, before the Pirates' game against the Chicago Cubs.
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