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Castro's homer lifts Cubs over struggling Pirates

Aug 4, 2011 - 3:46 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Starlin Castro's home run in the eighth inning accounted for the only run as Chicago took a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh in the third contest of a four-game set.

With the count full, Castro got hold of a fastball and drilled it over the wall in left-center. The blast was enough to push the Pirates under .500 for the first time since June 21.

"It was a fastball right in the middle that he tried to keep high but it hung down there and I got a good swing on it," said Castro.

Castro made a winner of Matt Garza (5-8), who pitched seven-plus innings and gave up just four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. The Cubs have won all three games of this set, while Garza claimed his first victory since June 27. He had been 0-2 in his last six starts.

"We play like this quite a bit, but we don't get many breaks," said Garza. "The defensive did a great job out there tonight and we're progressing."

Chris Resop (3-3) was tagged with the loss after giving up the homer. Charlie Morton threw seven scoreless innings and allowed five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

After being in first place for several days in July, the Pirates -- who have dropped six straight and eight of nine -- have fallen to 6 1/2 games back of the Brewers for the top spot in the NL Central.

"When things get hard you have to play harder," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "You have to keep trying harder and it will work out. We played a good game tonight, but they got a run and we didn't and we lost."

Tuesday's 11-6 win for Chicago saw the team hit six home runs and Garrett Jones hit two for Pittsburgh, but one longball and one run was all that occurred on Wednesday as both pitchers were sharp.

Andrew McCutchen was left stranded on third in the Pirates' half of the first and the Cubs wasted a leadoff double from Carlos Pena in the second.

The Pirates got a runner to second with one out in the third, but McCutchen flied out and Jones struck out to end the threat.

The Cubs loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk in the sixth, but it was with two outs and Marlon Byrd ground out to end the frame.

After Castro's homer, Garza walked Matt Diaz to start the eighth and Sean Marshall took over. He got McCutchen and Steve Pearce to fly out and Neil Walker to line out sharply to third to end the frame.

Carlos Marmol hit Derrek Lee to start the ninth and Ryan Ludwick followed with a sac bunt, but Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Doumit both struck out and Marmol earned his 22nd save on the season.

Game Notes

Chicago manager Mike Quade and right fielder Tyler Colvin were ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bob Davidson at the conclusion of the top of the fifth for arguing balls and strikes after Colvin looked at strike three to end the frame...The Pirates have finished under .500 for a Major League record 18 straight seasons...It's just the second series loss in the last 10 series at home for the Pirates...Each team has won six times in the season series...Before the game, the Pirates activated Doumit from the 60-day disabled list. He had been out since May 5 after spraining his left ankle. The team optioned catcher Eric Fryer to Triple-A Indianapolis.