Offense wakes up as Pirates snap losing skid with win over Cubs
CHICAGO — Although reluctant to go on the disabled list two weeks ago, Ivan Nova had to concede Sunday that the break was a great benefit.
Josh Harrison led off the game with a home run, and Gregory Polanco hit a bases-loaded triple, leading Nova and the Pirates over the Chicago Cubs, 7-1, as a heavy fog hung over venerable Wrigley Field for a good portion of the game.
The Pirates, who scored a total of three runs in their previous four road games, ended their losing streak at three.
Nova (3-5) allowed one run on four hits in 5 2⁄3 innings to snap a four-decision skid and pick up his first win since April 15. He was activated before the game after missing two weeks with a sprained finger.
“I like to take the ball every five days,” he said. “Sometimes, you don't think about your performance because you believe in yourself, and you think that you can do your job out there.
“My finger was bothering me a little bit my last couple of times out there, and I didn't help myself. Today, I was finally 100-percent healthy.”
Manager Clint Hurdle agreed: “He was efficient. That was the guy we hadn't seen much in his last five times out.”
Anthony Rizzo drove in the lone run for Chicago, which had won four in a row.
Kyle Hendricks (4-6) gave up one run on three hits in five innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Harrison hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his seventh career leadoff homer.
The Pirates then broke the game open with a five-run sixth. Austin Meadows led off with a double against reliever Brian Duensing, and, one out later, Elias Diaz hit an RBI single.
After walking Josh Bell to load the bases, Duensing was replaced by Luke Farrell. The lefty-swinging Polanco greeted the right-hander by lining a 1-2 pitch into the right-field corner for a three-run triple to make it 5-0. Jordy Mercer followed with an RBI single.
The Pirates added a run in the eighth on an RBI groundout by pinch-hitter David Freese.
“The story, for me, was Gregory's three-run triple to create the separation and Nova off the mound,” Hurdle said.
Notes: To make room for Nova, the Pirates optioned RHP Nick Kingham to Triple-A Indianapolis. They also recalled catcher Jacob Stallings from Indianapolis and optioned OF/INF Adam Frazier. ... C Francisco Cervelli sat out after being struck in the left jaw by a foul tip Saturday. “It's just a bruise,” he said. “I'll be ready soon.”