Lest the Pirates enjoy their celebration too much after clinching a playoff spot Monday night Andrew McCutchen established a policy. We'll party tonight their MVP candidate center fielder said according to manager Clint Hurdle. Tomorrow we play.

Sporting a regular lineup the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 8-2 at Wrigley Field Tuesday night. They knocked around Cubs starter Chris Rusin forcing him from the game in the third inning. Pirates starter Gerrit Cole built upon his recent dominance.

They still have hopes of winning the NL Central and they'll need these types of performances to have any chance of catching the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' win Tuesday meaning the Cardinals remained two games ahead of the Pirates with four games remaining in the season.

Thanks to former Pirate Vic Black who closed out a game for the New York Mets against the Cincinnati Reds the Pirates took a one-game lead over the Reds in the standings. At worst the Pirates will enter the weekend series in Cincinnati tied with the Reds.

The Pirates built an early lead against the Cubs with a three-run second inning. Gaby Sanchez reached base three times and Pedro Alvarez doubled twice driving in three runs in the process.

Marlon Byrd singled to start the second inning and Sanchez walked. After Russell Martin flied out Alvarez roped a double to right field. The ball lodged itself in the ivy so only one run scored.

After another out Cole took care of the extra base-runner with a two-run single.

Jordy Mercer bats second against left-handed starters to take advantage of his .413 average .464 on-base percentage and .667 slugging percentage against them. It paid off Tuesday when Mercer led off the third inning with a full-count home run to left-center field.

Cubs reliever Chang-Yong Lim made a mess of things in the fifth. He allowed a single and two walks to load the bases with nobody out. Martin struck out but Alvarez doubled for the second time scoring two runs. Lim exited after throwing 13 strikes and 21 balls in two-thirds of an inning.

Cole (10-7) allowed two runs in six innings walking one and striking out six.