Jon Lester combined with two relievers on a one-hitter, and the Cubs took advantage of a first-inning slip by center fielder Starling Marte in a 2-0 victory Saturday over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago's 11th win in 13 games.
Lester (7-2) allowed a two-out triple in the third to Austin Meadows, then retired Starling Marte on a groundout. Lester struck out five and walked two in seven innings, improving to 5-1 in his past six starts.
Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek each pitched a perfect inning. Cishek got his second save as the Cubs remained a half-game behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee.
Nick Kingham (2-3) allowed both runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh lost for the sixth time in seven games and is 5-16 following a 26-17 start, losing seven straight series.
Kris Bryant led off for the second straight day and was hit by Kingham's second pitch. The game turned on Kingham's next offering, when Marte settled under Jason Heyward's fly but fell as the ball bounced to the wall. That put runners on second and third, and when Ben Zobrist followed with an RBI groundout and Anthony Rizzo a sacrifice fly, the Cubs had a two-run lead after just six pitches by Kingham.
Bryant was 0 for 2 with an intentional walk after getting three hits Friday in his debut as a leadoff hitter.
Pittsburgh was without second baseman and leadoff hitter Josh Harrison, absent because of a personal matter, according to manager Clint Hurdle.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli was struck on the mask and left side of his jaw by Heyward's foul ball in the third inning, then was replaced by Elias Diaz for the bottom of the fourth.