Bert Blyleven won his fourth straight decision and the Pirates got their sixth straight, 7-2, against the Cubs. The win moved the Bucs to a season-high six games over .500 and kept them four and a half games behind Montreal, which beat the Phillies.
The Pirates took charge early against Chicago’s Ken Holtzman. In the bottom of the first, a double by Omar Moreno and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Lee Lacy hit into a force play to bring in one run, then Phil Garner doubled in two more to make it 3-0. A Tim Foli double and a Bill Robinson single made it 4-0 after three.
The Cubs tried to go with a running game against Blyleven. They got one baserunner in each of the first three innings. The first two stole second but got stranded. Manny Sanguillen threw out the third.
The longball worked a little better for the visitors. Dave Kingman hit his 25th in the fourth to cut the Pirates’ lead to 4-1.
Both starters worked out of trouble a number of times, as both teams had baserunners in every inning of the game. The Cubs went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and the Pirates 3-for-16.
In the top of the seventh, Blyleven got the first two batters but a walk and two hits loaded the bases. Chuck Tanner went to Grant Jackson to face the left-handed Bill Buckner. A passed ball let in one run, then Jackson got a fly ball to end the inning. That closed the book on the Dutchman; six and two-thirds innings, one earned and one unearned run, six hits and four walks. That cut it to 4-2.
The Pirates got that run back and one extra in the bottom of the inning. They loaded the bases with one out on two hits and a walk, then an error by Cubs’ shortstop Ivan DeJesus let in one run. An Ed Ott sacrifice fly brought in another, restoring the four-run lead. The Bucs made it 7-2 in the eighth when Robinson doubled in Dave Parker.
Jackson left for a pinch hitter in the seventh and Kent Tekulve finished the game. Chicago’s only runner in the eighth reached on an error. In the ninth, DeJesus, who reached base five times, singled with two out. Bobby Murcer followed with a single but Parker threw out DeJesus, who inexplicably tried to go to third with a five-run deficit.
The win left Blyleven at 4-2. The Pirates had 13 hits. Robinson had three and Moreno, Garner and Sanguillen each two.