Rapid Reaction: Pirates 6, Cubs 2

PITTSBURGH – The Chicago Cubs lost 6-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. Here’s a quick look at the game.

How it happened: Andrew McCutchen had a home run and three RBIs as the Pirates got out to a 4-0 lead after five innings. Starling Marte put them on the board with a second-inning RBI double, bringing home Pedro Alvarez before McCutchen went deep to right in the third, then doubled off the wall to right in the fifth. The Cubs finally scored when Anthony Rizzo singled with two out in the sixth and came home on a Starlin Castro double, but starter Charlie Morton and two relievers held them at bay for most of the night. The Pirates added some distance in the eighth as Carlos Villanueva gave up a long ball to Ike Davis -- a solo shot to straightaway center -- and a pair of doubles that increased the margin to 6-1. Castro homered in the ninth, his third hit of the night and eighth long ball of the season.

What it means: Before the game, manager Rick Renteria said he was “anxious” to see how his Cubs would react on the road after a successful homestand. They went down quickly at the plate as Morton used only 82 pitches to get through seven innings. They never really put up a good fight, as the top two in the order, Emilio Bonifacio and Junior Lake, went 0-for-8. The Cubs dropped to 10-22 on the road.

Castro had been mired in a mini-slump and convinced Renteria not to give him a day off recently. The shortstop rewarded his manager with a strong night at the plate and is only two home runs off his 2013 mark of 10.

Sweeney rehab: Cubs outfielder Ryan Sweeney began a rehab stint at Class A Kane County on Monday and was scheduled to play six innings. He went 0-for-2 with a walk as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

“We’ll see how he feels after every outing,” Renteria said.

What’s next: Travis Wood (5-5, 5.04) takes on Francisco Liriano (1-6, 4.54) in Game 2 of the series Tuesday evening.