PITTSBURGH - Bligh Madris hit his first major league home run and fellow rookie Roansy Contreras pitched five solid innings to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
Madris connected in the sixth for a solo shot to right-center field off Mark Leiter Jr. to close the scoring. It came a day after Madris had three hits in his big league debut.
"It’s been really special," Madris said. "I don’t think anyone can imagine exactly what it’s going to be like when you come to the big leagues. So, I think it’s pretty unexpected to think it’s going to be like this. I’m just going out there and trying to help the team win, but it’s been a pretty special two days. You really couldn’t draw it up like this."
Contreras (2-1) allowed one run and four hits while striking out three and walking two. He had given up four runs in each of his previous two starts.
He got through a 32-pitch first inning without allowing a run.
"For young pitchers, they can let that unravel when they don’t have their best stuff, and he still was able to go out and execute pitches, get us through five, was able to spot his fastball," Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. "For a 22-year-old, it’s only going to move upward from there."
Anthony Banda, Chris Stratton and rookie Yerry De Los Santos combined for four scoreless innings of relief.
Michael Perez also homered for the Pirates, and Daniel Vogelbach went 2 for 2 with two walks and two RBIs. Pittsburgh won its third straight game after losing 11 of 12.
"When I feel I’m at my best is when I’m walking and I’m hitting at the same time because I’m a believer that walking is hitting," Vogelbach said. "Sometimes, you can’t control whether they throw you strikes. All you can control is when they throw it over the plate, you’ve got to hit it hard."
Cubs rookie Matt Swarmer (1-3) permitted five runs — four earned — and five hits in four innings while losing his third straight start. He had five strikeouts and two walks.
"It looked like they were all over his stuff," Chicago manager David Ross said.
Jason Heyward had two hits for the Cubs, who lost for the 13th time in 15 games. Patrick Wisdom accounted for their lone run with a 461-foot leadoff homer into the bullpens in center field leading off the fourth inning.
Wisdom’s drive came after the Pirates scored in each of the first three innings to take a 5-0 lead.
Ke’Bryan Hayes led off the first with a triple and scored on Bryan Reynolds’ sacrifice fly. Perez homered in the second, then Vogelbach and Oneil Cruz hit RBI singles in the third. Another run scored in the inning on catcher Willson Contreras’ throwing error.
A run-scoring double by Vogelbach in the fifth made it 6-1.
The Cubs optioned rookie right-hander Caleb Kilian to Triple-A Iowa and recalled Leiter from the same club. Kilian was 0-2 with a 10.32 ERA in his first three career starts.
Left-hander Sean Newcomb was sent outright to Iowa after clearing waivers. He has until Wednesday to accept or decline the assignment.
The Pirates acquired left-handed reliever Eric Stout from the Cubs for cash and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh opened a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring OF Jake Marisnick from the injured list to the COVID-19 IL.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) threw his first bullpen since going on the injured list June 9.
Pirates: LF Ben Gamel (strained left hamstring) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Indianapolis on Wednesday.
Cubs: RHP Keegan Thompson (6-2, 3.27 ERA) will start Wednesday night. He pitched six scoreless innings against Atlanta in a no-decision last outing after getting tagged for 12 runs over 3 2/3 innings in his two previous starts combined.
Pirates: RHP Jerad Eickhoff will be called up from Indianapolis, where he is 4-3 with 4.84 ERA in 13 games, including six starts. The 31-year-old has pitched in the major leagues with Texas, Philadelphia and the New York Mets.