Dioner Navarro welcomes the chance to come off the bench to hit in a big spot late in the game.
The veteran catcher delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the 11th inning Sunday in Chicago to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory and a three-game series win.
Navarro is 6-for-14 as a pinch hitter this season with two home runs and four RBIs.
Luis Valbuena was walked intentionally before Navarro’s fly ball to right off Bryan Morris (4-3) gave the Cubs their seventh win in the last 11 games.
Matt Guerrier (3-4) pitched two scoreless innings for his first win with Chicago.
The Cubs had a 3-2 lead and the Pirates were down to their last strike in the ninth when Starling Marte homered off closer Kevin Gregg.
Chicago (38-48) improved to 20-18 since it got off to a lackluster start. It has won five of its last seven series.
Pittsburgh (53-34) has dropped three of four to fall into a tie with St. Louis for the NL Central lead and the best record in the majors.
Ray 3, White Sox 1: John Danks pitched well. But a resurgent David Price was even better in St. Petersburg. Fla.
Price went the distance to win his second straight start since returning from an injury as the Rays completed a three-game sweep by beating the White Sox 3-1 Sunday.
Danks (2-6) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. The left-hander has lost all five of his road starts this year.
Price (3-4) worked around eight hits, walking none and striking out five.
Josh Phegley hit his first major league homer for Chicago, which has lost nine of 11.
Cardinals 3, Marlins 2: Lance Lynn outpitched Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez for his 11th win, and Matt Holliday homered to help the Cardinals wrap up a three-game sweep in St. Louis.
Lynn (11-3) struck out seven – fanning Giancarlo Stanton all three times – and has reached 11 wins prior to the break both of his years in the rotation.
The 20-year-old Fernandez (5-5) worked six innings a day after getting the nod as the Marlins’ lone All-Star. He gave up three runs on four hits and a season-high four walks. He hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his previous six outings.
The Cardinals swept the Marlins, with whom they share a spring training complex in Jupiter, Fla., for the first time since Aug. 4-7, 2011 at Florida. Trevor Rosenthal escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by getting pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs on a groundout, getting some help when Stanton froze between second and third and could not score on Logan Morrison’s hit.
Edward Mujica pitched for the fourth straight game and finished for his 23rd save in 24 chances, giving him a win and two saves in the series.
Holliday’s 12th homer, and first in 12 games, was a 420-foot shot to straightaway center in the first.