Charlie Morton could take one positive from this loss: he went deeper than he had in any other start.
The only problem was Alfonso Soriano, who also went deep — twice.
The seven-time All-Star hit a pair of two-run homers in consecutive innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Edwin Jackson and three relievers combined on a five-hitter, and the Cubs handed the Pirates just their third loss in 14 games.
Pittsburgh came in with the best record in the majors and a seven-game road win streak, but the Pirates couldn’t get much going at the plate or find a way to contain Soriano.
That was the difference for Morton, who lasted a season-best six innings.
“The scoring plays were home runs,” he said. “What I need to do and what I do well usually is keep the ball in the park and I didn’t do that. That’s why I got hurt.”
Soriano’s drive in the fourth after Pedro Alvarez homered in the top half put the Cubs ahead, and he followed that with a long shot to the bleachers in left to make it 4-1 in the fifth.
That was enough for Jackson (5-10), who won his second straight start. A disappointment after signing a four-year deal with Chicago in January, the veteran right-hander had one of his better outings and improved to 6-2 in 10 starts against Pittsburgh.
He held the Pirates to just one run and four hits in 52/3 innings, leaving to cheers after he walked Garrett Jones to put runners on first and second.
James Russell came in and struck out Alvarez to end the threat.
Alvarez, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and pitchers Jason Grilli and Jeff Locke will represent the Pirates at the All-Star game on July 16.
Matt Guerrier worked two scoreless innings, and Kevin Gregg came on in the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.