Lackey, Rizzo lead way to lift Cubs to .500

Lackey had plenty of run support, and the Cubs’ success against the Pirates’ pitching started from the top. Leadoff man Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double, Pittsburgh native Ian Happ homered in the ninth inning, and No. 3-hitting catcher Willson Contreras drove in three runs with a pair of doubles off Pirates starter Jameson Taillon. Jon Jay got in on the action from the nine hole, going 3-for-4 and scoring two runs. Since taking two of three from the Pirates at PNC Park from April 24-26, the Cubs had lost six straight series away from Wrigley Field.

First things first: Rizzo might have found a new home in the leadoff spot. The Cubs’ slugging first baseman stayed hot atop the order, beginning the game with a double to left then ripping a single to right in the third against Taillon. In the seventh, Rizzo launched a two-run homer — the 150th of his career — to center field off lefty reliever Wade LeBlanc. Rizzo improved to 9-for-22 (.409) since being moved to the leadoff spot.

Catching on: Contreras’ first Major League plate appearance came against the Pirates last Father’s Day at Wrigley Field, where he smashed the first pitch he saw into the seats for a two-run homer. He put together another memorable performance on Sunday, hitting a pair of RBI doubles in the first three innings. After putting the Cubs on the board in the first inning, Contreras pulled a two-run double to left field in the third inning to pad Lackey’s lead.

Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward had to leave the game with a left hand abrasion. Heyward slid on the warning track in the second inning chasing David Freese‘s foul ball and received treatment on his hand after that. He stayed in the game and was then removed after the fourth inning.

Cubs: Jon Lester opens the Cubs’ brief three-game homestand on Monday against the Padres. He’s 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in eight home starts at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Pirates: Right-hander Gerrit Cole, coming off a strong seven-inning start against the Rockies on Tuesday, will start for the Pirates as they begin a four-game series against the Brewers at 7:40 p.m. ET on Monday at Miller Park. Milwaukee’s ballpark has historically been a house of horrors for the Bucs, but they won their last two series there last season.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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