PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Gamel hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Ke’Bryan Hayes went 4 for 4 a day after getting a big contract and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Wednesday for a two-game series split.
Kevin Newman hit a two-run triple in the third for the Pirates, who went 3 for 7 with runners in scoring position, a day after going 0 for 10.
Seiya Suzuki was 1 for 3 with an RBI single in the fourth for the Cubs. In his first season in the major leaguers, the two-time Japan Central League batting champion is 6 for 20 (.400) with three homers and nine RBIs in six games.
Willson Contreras put the Cubs ahead when he homered in the first off Zach Thompson, a 453-foot drive.
A day after getting a $70 million, eight-year contract, Hayes singled with two outs in the bottom half against Kyle Hendricks (0-1). Yoshi Tsutsugo walked on four pitches and Gamel reached down for a low changeup and lifted it for his first home run this season.
Hayes doubled with one out in the third, Gamel walked with two outs and Newman tripled off the Clemente Wall in right field. Hayes added an RBI single in the fourth that scored Hoy Park.
Hendricks allowed six runs, seven and four walks hits in 3 2/3 innings — three of the players who walked went on to score.
Thompson gave up two runs and five hits in four-plus innings. He was stuck on the back of the right shoulder by a Nico Hoerner line drive in the fifth, and left the game with a bruise.
Dillon Peters (1-0) relieved Thompson and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth. Wil Crowe gave up just one hit over the final three innings, throwing 50 pitches for his first professional save.
Cubs: RHP Alec Mills (back) won’t be activated for the upcoming series in Colorado. He threw a 77-pitch bullpen session Sunday but has also been dealing with an illness. Chicago has not announced a starter for Saturday’s game.
Pirates: OF Greg Allen had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured left hamstring. … LHP Sam Howard (back) threw batting practice and will make a rehab appearance next. … Top pitching prospect Quinn Priester will miss two more weeks with an oblique injury.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (1-0, 0.00 ERA) begins four games against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. Steele pitched five scoreless in his first start on April 9.
Pirates: RHP JT Brubaker (0-1, 12.00) will start a four-game home series against the Washington Nationals on Thursday.
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