Hey, the storms rolled through Chi-Town, and the Buccos and Cubbies sharpened their gin rummy skills for a a few hands to kill the 2-1/2 hour delay. But play they did, starting at 4:50 after the fog and lightning rolled back into Lake Michigan.
And it started out just swell. With two outs, McCutch and Neil Walker drew free passes; Lyle Overbay brought them home with a two base rope into right. The Cubbies went down quietly.
Ryan Dempster regained his mojo against the bottom of the order; Jeff Karstens lost his. A-Ram took a first pitch heater down the middle and deposited in the seats to cut the lead in half. Carlos Pena lined a single, and with one away, Tony Campana got a single and error ruling on a bleeder to Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno threw the ball in the dirt, hurrying to get the fleet Camapana. It was his first misfire after going 35 games clean.
Beside missing the out, the runners moved to second and third, and Koyie Hill lifted a fly to right. Garrett Jones made a strong throw, but Pena beat the rap, and the collision also took out Dewey, who had the leave the game. The Bucs reported it only as a left ankle injury, but reports from Indy said that Dusty Brown was scratched from the lineup, so...
The Bucs got a two out single from McCutch, and the Cubs manufactured a run in the third to take the lead. Kosuke Fukudome opened the frame with a double, and a bunt and sac fly brought him home.
Pittsburgh went quietly in the fourth, as did Chicago. JT lined a two-out single in the fifth, and was caught stealing on a 3-0 pitch to Jones. Aye carumba! The Cubs got a one-out single from Dempster and a two-out knock by Darwin Barney, both bloops, and Karstens stranded them to get off the hook.
Walker dropped a soft liner into right with two outs - all four knocks have come with two away - and Overbay K'd to end the frame. Chris Resop came in to replace Karstens, who had thrown just 71 pitches. JK went five innings, giving up three runs (two earned), seven hits and whiffing four.
Resop put the Cubbies down in order. The Cubs went to their pen too, bringing on Kerry Wood.
Snyder greeted him with a line single to center. Brandon Wood wasted an at-bat, popping out while trying to bunt the big guy over. Cedeno ripped a slider to deep center, but Campana tucked it away. Xavier Paul hit for Resop and drew a walk. Tabata fell behind 0-2, worked the count full, and he blasted one to center that was hauled in on the track at the 400' sign.
Evan Meek took the hill in the seventh. After a K, Hill lined a knock to center. Blake DeWitt grabbed a bat, and drilled the second pitch to Walker for a 4-6-3 DP as Meek continues his good work since his return from the DL.
Sean Marshall came on for the Cubs, and Matt Diaz grabbed a bat and rolled the second pitch to second for the first out. McCutch lined out to right. Walker bounced out, and it took Marshall all of six pitches - they all hit the second offering - to retire the Pirates.
Daniel McCutchen got the ball in the eighth. Fukudome led off with a ground knock to right; Barney chopped into a force out; then got caught stealing; bad couple of minutes for him. Starlin Castro flew out to center, and the Bucs were down to their last three outs.
The Cub hammer, Carlos Marmol, took over in the ninth. Overbay joined the parade of loud out makers when he pounded one to the wall in straightaway center. Snyder walked on a 3-2 pitch to give the Bucs some hope. Wood pulled a slider well off the dish softly to short; he was out while Snyder galloped to second. Cedeno got three heaters and went down swinging.
It's a pity the Pirates are wasting such decent pitching; they didn't have a runner reach third all game, except in passing in the first frame. And with Pedro out and Dewey, maybe Pearce, joining him, the Bucs need to do something in a hurry.
Oh well, that's tomorrow night's worry, when Charlie Morton faces Dillon Gee at CitiPark.
-- The Pirates are 1-22 in games this season when trailing after six innings.
-- If Dewey is out (he was on crutches in the clubhouse and is officially listed as having a sprained left ankle), Dusty Brown would be the call-up as Jason Jaramillo has elbow issues. Brown isn't on the 40-man roster, but it has one opening.
-- And if Steve Pearce is out for an extended period and goes on the DL, we'd not be surprised to see Josh Harrison (.331/.371.469) come up from Indy and Brandon Wood get DFA'ed. There is no minor league infielder on the Bucs current 40-man roster, and Harrison looks like the best organizational bet for a spot starter even if he lacks corner power; Wood has done virtually nothing in his audition with the Bucs.
-- Finally, those awaiting Alex Presley's call back to the show will have to cool their heels until either an outfielder goes down or Xavier Paul plays himself out of the fifth outfielder role.
-- Freddy Sanchez got hit #1,000 today, a first inning single up the middle off the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo.
-- The D-Backs took a tiny jab at Pittsburgh on their official Twitter account with a tweet that said "Congrats to first place D-Backs Zach Duke (who) had never been in first place after April 10th with the Pirates during his six-year MLB career." They deleted it after a couple of Pittsburgh media guys jumped on it.