Francisco Liriano took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before faltering in his first no-decision this season, and pinch-hitter Justin Morneau singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth Sunday to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Chicago Cubs 3-2.
Pittsburgh, which began the day tied with St. Louis for the NL Central lead, took three of four from the last-place Cubs and won for the sixth time in seven games.
Morneau, acquired from Minnesota on Aug. 31, drove in his first run for the Pirates. The 2006 AL MVP is batting .279 (12 for 43) with Pittsburgh.
With the score 2-2 in the eighth, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch from Pedro Strop (2-2), took second on Marlon Byrd's bloop single to center and scored on Morneau's single.
Kyle Farnsworth (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Mark Melancon completed a three-hitter with a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Liriano didn't allowed a hit until Junior Lake singled into the hole between third base and shortstop leading off the seventh. Shortstop Jordy Mercer made a diving effort and stopped the ball on the outfield grass, but Lake easily beat the throw.
Welington Castillo followed with a tying, two-run homer into the bleachers in left-center. Castillo's seventh homer of the season stopped Liriano's streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings at PNC Park.
Liriano allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in six-plus innings. At 16-7, he became the first Pirates pitcher with a decision in his first 23 starts since Larry French opened with 24 in a row in 1930, according to STATS.
Cubs starter Travis Wood gave up two runs, five hits and two walks in six innings.
Jose Tabata led off the first inning with a triple and scored on a wild pitch, and Tony Sanchez doubled the lead when he homered in the fourth.