Charlie Morton picked up Monday night where Jeff Locke left off Sunday. He worked quickly and efficiently against the Chicago Cubs, dropping his curveball in to generate swings and misses while encouraging grounders with his sinker.

With the benefit of run support that Locke did not receive, Morton earned the win in a 6-2 victory against the Cubs at PNC Park.

Morton (3-7) pitched seven innings of one-run ball, the same as Locke did Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Morton needed 82 pitches to complete those seven innings; Locke needed 75. Morton, who leads the majors in hit batters, did not hit anyone, nor did he walk one, and he did all this against a lineup featuring five left-handed batters and a switch-hitter.

"I pitched lefties a little bit differently," Morton said. "A little less to contact to lefties because they've hurt me more in the past. My sinker isn't necessarily a quick out to a lefty, so I have to pitch them a little bit different."

The consecutive starts were a good sign for a rotation that ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.40 ERA and just lost Gerrit Cole to the disabled list and a bullpen that ranked second in the league in innings pitched.

"Definitely back-to-back outings like this, you gain some optimism," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Things are contagious in this game, and we'd like for that to be one of the things that becomes contagious as well -- those starters getting deeper."

Morton cruised through the first three innings, needing only 29 pitches, 22 of which were strikes. Through the first five innings, the only hits he allowed came on a bunt single, a high chopper in front of the plate and a grounder poked down the left-field line for a double away from a defensive shift.