PITTSBURGH – Travis Snider hit a pinch-hit grand slam during a five-run sixth, and the Pittsburgh Pirates spoiled a strong return to the mound for Matt Garza with a 5-4 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night.
Garza allowed one hit over five shutout innings in his first outing in 10 months, but the Pirates pounced on the Cubs’ bullpen that is 10th in the NL in ERA by sending 11 men to the plate in the sixth.
Snider’s first career home run with the bases loaded was the first Pirates pinch-hit grand slam in five years.
Garza had been sidelined since July 21 because of a stress reaction in his right elbow and, later, a strained upper back.
Wandy Rodriguez (5-2) allowed three runs on six hits over six innings for the Pirates, who have won nine of 11.
The Cubs scored once in the ninth, but Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging with two on to end the game and earn Jason Grilli his majors-leading 18th save.
Darwin Barney went 4 for 4 for the Cubs, who have lost three of four.
The lone inning in which Rodriguez allowed a runner past first base was the second, when Darwin Barney had an RBI single and Garza hit a two-run double.
Cubs pitchers have 13 RBIs in May – the most for the franchise in any month since September 1971. They also have a major league-leading six doubles.
But after that, Rodriguez retired 13 of the final 15 he faced. Justin Wilson worked around two hits in the seventh and Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless eighth.
Barney tripled with one out in the ninth, and Starlin Castro followed a Julio Borbon walk with an RBI single. But Rizzo fell to 0 for 5 with his second strikeout of the game to end it.
, allowing Grilli to surpass the New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera for the most saves in the majors.
Snider’s homer, his second, was the first pinch-hit grand slam by a Pirates player since Jason Michaels on June 2, 2008, at St. Louis. It came off of Shawn Camp after Hector Rondon and James Russell had combined to load the bases and immediately following a Pedro Alvarez walk to drive in a run.
The Pirates did not have a hit against Garza until Clint Barmes singled to right with one out in the fifth. That followed a Gaby Sanchez walk and was followed by a Rodriguez sacrifice. But Jose Tabata grounded out to end the inning. Garza threw 82 pitches.
After sitting out Pittsburgh’s previous game Sunday due to knee soreness, Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 4. He made two of the Pirates’ three outs during the sixth, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.
NOTES: To make room for Garza on the roster, the Cubs earlier Tuesday designated RHP Michael Bowden for assignment. Also Tuesday, Chicago claimed RHP Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned him to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. ... The Pirates reinstated RHP Jose Contreras from the bereavement list before the game and returned RHP Jared Hughes to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... LHP Francisco Liriano will make his third start for the Pirates when the series continues Wednesday. He has faced the Cubs once in his eight-year career. RHP Jeff Samardzija, who has a 0.92 ERA in 39 career innings vs. Pittsburgh, starts for the Cubs.