Pirates hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, including an inside-the-park homer, against Cubs

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The Pirates pulled another trick out of the bag tonight, hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs to erase a 3-0 deficit against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. After Andrew McCutchen and Justin Morneau made two quick outs to start off the bottom of the fourth, Pedro Alvarez hit an inside-the-park home run to right-center. Russell Martin then cranked a solo shot out to left, and Garrett Jones followed with a homer to center, tying the game at 3-3.

Alvarez bumped his home run total up to 33, giving him a two-homer lead over Paul Goldschmidt at the top of the National League. Martin and Jones now sit with 14 apiece on the season.

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Against Pirates starter Charlie Morton, the Cubs scored once in the second on an RBI ground out by Darwin Barney. They added two more in the fourth on a two-run home run by Brian Bogusevic.

The Pirates entered the night tied with the Cardinals at 85-61 in first place atop the NL Central. The Cardinals are hosting the Mariners. The third-place Reds, just 2.5 games behind, are in Milwaukee.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.