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Associated Press
Chicago Cubs starter Jason Hammel delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Chicago, Wednesday.

Hammel strong again, Cubs beat Pirates 7-5

CHICAGO – Jason Hammel threw seven strong innings, Anthony Rizzo had four hits, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Wednesday night despite allowing five solo home runs.

Signed to a one-year, $6 million contract over the offseason, Hammel (2-0) won his Cubs debut when he beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He got off to another good start in this one, retiring the first 12 batters until Pedro Alvarez’s first homer of the game tied it to start the fifth. Hammel allowed three runs and three hits – all solo homers – while striking out six. Mike Olt and Junior Lake hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth against Wandy Rodriguez (0-2).

Rizzo’s four hits tied a career high, and it was his career-best fourth straight multi-hit game. Alvarez and Russell Martin homered twice for the Pirates, and Travis Snider also went deep.

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