Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, Cubs 1

Here's a quick look at the Chicago Cubs' 3-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday:

How it happened: The Pirates scored a pair of two-out runs in the fourth inning on singles by Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez after hits by Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen earlier in the inning. They added another two-out run on a single by Clint Barmes, followed by a double from Mercer in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs scored their lone run on a two-out single by Starlin Castro in the third that drove in Darnell McDonald, who had doubled. They put the tying runs on base in the ninth with no outs, but the rally stalled there. Chris Rusin held the Pirates in check for most of the night in his seven innings by giving up only four hits without walking anyone. In fact, Rusin held the Pirates hitless in six of his seven innings, as all four Pittsburgh hits came in the fourth, when it scored its first two runs.

What it means: Rusin became the Cubs' third starter in four games, all against playoff-caliber teams, to not issue a walk. He faced the minimum in six of seven innings and nearly got out of the fourth with no damage after getting Mercer in a rundown for the second out. As is, he gave up one extra-base hit and three singles but still lost the game. It remains to be seen if Rusin is a mainstay for the rotation next season, but from the beginning of spring training through his minor league season at Triple-A Iowa, to his 60 innings with the Cubs, he has given more than an honest effort. Even in setting new highs in innings pitched as a professional, Rusin continues to keep his team in the game more often than not.

Up next: Game 2 of the series takes place on Friday night when Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.49 ERA) faces Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.44).