How it happened: Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano not only threw a complete game, he looped an RBI base hit to left field to produce the first run in the Pirates’ second inning. The Cubs’ Scott Hairston answered with a two-run home run in the bottom half of the inning to give Jeff Samardzija the lead. Three Pittsburgh third-inning runs were set up by a bad route from centerfielder David Sappelt, who turned a Neal Walker double into a triple. A poor decision by catcher Dioner Navarro led to a double steal with Andrew McCutchen easily crossing home plate when Navarro threw to second. Samardzija allowed five runs in his six innings of work, competing with less than his best stuff.
What it means: Former White Sox pitcher Liriano won his eighth game of the season while Samardzija suffered his eighth loss in 13 decisions. The Pirates, who have the best record in the National League, hold the edge in the season series, having won seven out of 10 games played in 2013. Chicago is now a league worst 11-26 in division play. The Cubs are 25-22 against the rest of baseball.
Outside of the box: David DeJesus took some batting practice and began a little baseball activity on Friday. There is no timetable for his return or for a rehab assignment as of yet. The Cubs have lost three centerfielders to injury in the last month. DeJesus suffered a right shoulder sprain on June 15, Ryan Sweeney fractured a rib on June 30 and Brian Bogusevic strained a hamstring over the weekend and is day to day.
Up next: The Stanley Cup makes an appearance at Clark and Addison on Saturday. The Pirates will send Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.50 ERA) to face the Cubs and pitcher Edwin Jackson (4-10, 5.75) in Game 2 of the three-game set.