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Cubs hold off Pirates, 3-2

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach Davies allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings, Rex Brothers got his first save in eight years and the Chicago Cubs held on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Friday, extending their winning streak to four.

Joc Pederson had three hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Javier Baez and David Bote had two hits each as Chicago got back to .500 at 16-16.

Davies (2-2), acquired from San Diego in a seven-player deal in December, had his best outing for the Cubs on a chilly day at Wrigley Field, with the wind blowing in. The slender right-hander limited the Pirates to five singles while walking one and hitting a batter, and he lowered his ERA from 8.22 ERA to 6.30.

Davies consistently got ahead of hitters with solid fastball command. He kept the Pirates off balance with weak swings, got quick outs and limited his pitch count.

“It sets you in such a better position to navigate each at-bat,” Davies said. “You’re ahead in the count and you throw from a place of confidence. You don’t have to throw over the middle of the plate.”

Davies worked to stay low-key.

“I learned at a young age that emotions don’t help me,” he said. “I’m a thinker. I try to set that aside and focus on the next play.”

Pittsburgh has lost seven of eight and is last in the NL Central at 13-18. The Pirates have six runs in their last five games.

Colin Morin and Jacob Stallings had two hits each. Pittsburgh rallied for two runs off relievers Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera in the ninth — and loaded the bases with two outs.

Todd Frazier had a run-scoring groundout, and Ka’ai Tom had an RBI single.

Pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo dumped a bloop single into center off Brothers, who then hit Adam Frazier with a pitch to load the bases. But Brothers got Bryan Reynolds to fly out on a full-count pitch to end it, and earn his first save since Sept. 29, 2013, when he earned his 19th that season, for Colorado at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cubs manager David Ross admitted he was trying to work around a tired bullpen. Usual closer Craig Kimbrel wasn’t available.

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