Mustache magic! Joc Pederson slugs two homers as torrid streak rolls on

Pederson hit two home runs in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory against the Pirates as his new look continues to turn heads.

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The Cubs’ Joc Pederson celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Pirates at PNC Park.

The Cubs’ Joc Pederson celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Pirates at PNC Park.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson admitted his wife isn’t a big fan of his newly grown mustache. But if he keeps hitting home runs, he might try to keep it around a little bit longer.

‘‘She’s on me,’’ Pederson said with a laugh. ‘‘I better not go 0-fer. I’m just messing around. It’s all in fun.’’

Pederson has been on a tear in May and has given the Cubs a major boost since coming off the injured list. His presence at the top of the lineup has added to what has started to look like a dynamic offense.

Pederson powered that offense in the Cubs’ 4-3 victory Tuesday against the Pirates, slugging two no-doubt homers in the triumph.

Pederson got the Cubs on the board after the Pirates had taken an early 3-0 lead against right-hander Jake Arrieta. He battled, working the count to 3-2, before hitting a towering solo homer to make it 3-1 in the third inning.

‘‘Great game for him today,’’ manager David Ross said. ‘‘We kind of started off a little bit lethargic. Picked us up with the big home run there just to get us on the board, and then obviously the two-run homer to tie it [in the fifth] was really nice.

‘‘I think he’s just found his timing. This is that playoff type of player that you see when he’s locked in. He looks really good right now. He’s swinging the bat as good as anybody.’’

Pederson’s homer in the fifth was a 401-foot, two-run blast that tied the score 3-3. It was the 16th multihomer game of Pederson’s career.

Anthony Rizzo gave the Cubs the lead later in the inning with an RBI single that scored Javy Baez, who had doubled.

Pederson capped his night with a third extra-base hit, a double in ninth.

Pederson’s hot streak didn’t start with him trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. It started with him taking the ball the other way, lining pitches away from the shift and into left field. Not only was the ball finding the barrel consistently, but the hits also started falling in.

‘‘I was hitting some balls really hard for a while, and nothing was kind of going in the air,’’ Pederson said. ‘‘Just some singles, but it is what it is. I didn’t want to go up there and try to do more and get away from what was being successful. Just trust that it’s going to come in time.’’

He was right. It was only a matter of time before his big-time power started to show up.

Pederson is hitting .370 in May and has hit three homers in the last five days. After a frigid April, he has improved his season slash line to .267/.343/.431.

‘‘I was lucky to get some pitches today that I was able to drive out of the ballpark and just stick with the same approach of hitting the ball hard and getting on base and doing what I can to help the team win,’’ Pederson said. ‘‘We’re on a really good little stretch right now.’’

As for his new look, whether or not it’s the reason for his recent success, Pederson has a message for those who can’t see his vaguely visible mustache.

‘‘Don’t come at me like that,’’ he said. ‘‘Look at that thing. Sorry, I can’t grow a great one. This is all I’ve got. It’s hard work. It’s there, though. I need the right lighting.’’

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