Cubs Ride Castro to Comeback Win Over Pirates

Chicago 9, Pittsburgh 8

Starlin Castro went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs, including a game-tying two-run single in the ninth, and the Chicago Cubs rallied for a 9-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Wellington Castillo followed Castro's big hit with an RBI groundout off Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon (0-1) as Chicago overcame a late three-run deficit to win for the third time in four games.

Edwin Jackson (1-0) picked up the victory in relief. Hector Rondon worked a perfect ninth for his third save.

Chicago rookie Addison Russell went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in his major league debut. The club called the highly touted 21-year-old infielder from Triple-A earlier in the day.

Pittsburgh's Jung Ho Kang went 2 for 4 with a bases-clearing double in the seventh for the first RBIs of his career.

Starling Marte hit his fifth homer of the season for the Pirates and Francisco Cervelli added two hits and two RBIs.

The Pirates appeared to finally take control when Kang, a 27-year-old infielder who is the first position player to jump from the Korean Baseball Organization directly to the majors, smacked a double to center off Jason Motte to put Pittsburgh in front 8-5.

Castillo hit a solo homer off Tony Watson in the eighth to draw the Cubs within two and Chicago pounced on Melancon in the ninth.

Anthony Rizzo led off the inning with a single. Jorge Soler doubled and Kris Bryant walked. Castro then hit a chopper over the head of Pittsburgh third baseman Josh Harrison to tie the game. Melancon struck out Chris Coghlan but Castillo's soft grounder to second was too slow to turn a double play and the Cubs leapt in front.

The Cubs hadn't expected Russell to join fellow rookie Kris Bryant in the majors so soon but it changed after their platoon of second basemen struggled out of the gate. Russell, acquired as part of the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to Oakland last summer, hit .318 in Triple-A and manager Joe Maddon stressed he felt Russell was mature enough to handle the pressure.

Russell, who is transitioning from shortstop to second, looked right at home in his new position. He wasn't quite so comfortable at the plate. He didn't get a ball out of the infield.

Unlike the last few years, the Pirates aren't expecting an impact player from their farm system to arrive this season. Instead their most intriguing prospect is Kang, who hit .356 with 40 home runs in the KBO last season. Playing time has been hard to come by, though general manager Neal Huntington insisted over the weekend that Kang was better served getting spot duty in the majors than regular at bats in Triple-A.

The Cubs walked Marte intentionally to get to Kang in the seventh before Kang sent a ball to the wall. Pittsburgh's bullpen, a strength during its playoff runs the last two years, then gave the lead away.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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