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Game 1: Morton blanks Cubs

CHICAGO — Charlie Morton got a measure of payback Wednesday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs.

Morton tossed his first career shutout, scattering four hits to pace the Pirates to a 4-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.

“It was very impressive,” manager John Russell said. “Everything worked for him today. He was down in the zone and used his off-speed pitches very well. It was an outstanding job.”

The previous time Morton pitched at Wrigley Field, it was a massacre. On Aug. 14, Morton allowed 10 runs in one-plus inning as the Pirates were humiliated, 17-2.

This time, Morton (5-9) set career highs by pitching nine innings and racking up seven strikeouts. He also hit two batters and walked three.

“If this was my next start (after the loss), it would’ve meant more,” Morton said. “I tried not to put too much emphasis on what happened. But it’s a big step, in the sense that I gave up 10 runs and then came back and won.”

The Pirates scored all their runs in the first inning against lefty Ted Lilly (12-9).

Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones walked. With one out, Lastings Milledge blooped a single to right, loading the bases.

Steve Pearce hit a grounder to second baseman Andres Blanco, who flipped the ball to shortstop Ryan Theriot for the force out. Milledge slid in hard — going a bit out of the base path with his legs up to take out Theriot and break up the double play. McCutchen scored.

“It was a clean slide,” Milledge said. “Just a lot of contact.”

Theriot stayed down for a minute, and Blanco barked and pointed at Milledge.

“(Blanco) probably felt we should back off or whatever,” Milledge said. “But a lot of guys got things to prove here. A lot of us are playing for spots on the team next year, so we can’t afford to back off. We’ve got to play the game.”

Jason Jaramillo’s double drove in Jones and Pearce. Brian Bixler lined the first pitch up the middle for an RBI single.

Milledge was booed in each of his next three at-bats. He struck out twice and doubled.

– Follow me on Twitter @RobBiertempfel.

Lineups for tonight’s game (second of doubleheader):

PIRATES (60-97)

  1. Andrew McCutchen cf
  2. Andy LaRoche 3b
  3. Garrett Jones 1b
  4. Ryan Doumit c
  5. Lastings Milledge lf
  6. Brandon Moss rf
  7. Delwyn Young 2b
  8. Ramon Vazquez ss
  9. Jeff Karstens (3-5, 5.45) rhp

CUBS (82-75)

  1. Sam Fuld cf
  2. Ryan Theriot ss
  3. Derrek Lee 1b
  4. Micah Hoffpauir lf
  5. Jeff Baker 3b
  6. Reed Johnson rf
  7. Micah Fontenot 2b
  8. Koyie Hill c
  9. Carlos Zambrano (9-6, 3.69) rhp

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