Paul Maholm started off by clipping Reed Johnson on the jersey. No big deal. Two pitches later, Stalin castro rolled one to Chase d'Arnaud, who started a 6-4-3 DP. PM worked A-Ram slow and inside, and got him swinging at a little slider down.
Presley opened against Ramon Ortiz by rolling a single into right. After d'Arnaud line out softly to Alfonso Soriano, Neil Walker doubled into center to put runners at second and third. McCutch lifted a sac fly to right, the Bucs were up 1-0.
After an out, Maholm plunked Geovany Soto - the Cubs better get used to the new PM who works inside now - and got Marlin Byrd to ground into a 6-4-3. The Bucs went down in order.
Soriano led off the third reaching on a d'Arnaud misfire that Overbay could't handle. This time Darwin Barney rolled one to short and another 6-4-3 was recorded. Ortiz struck out, and it was the Bucs turn.
Maholm walked after fouling off three pitches; a Presley single moved him to second. d'Arnaud fouled back-to-back bunt attempts and K'ed swinging, a totally wasted at-bat. Walker didn't waste his; he doubled again to plate Maholm and send Presley to third. McCutch showed why Clint Hurdle has used him at clean up; he belted a ball over the 399' mark, and it was 5-0 Pittsburgh.
Johnson led off the fourth by turning on a curve and doubling to right. Castro singled past d'Arnaud to put runners on the corners. Ramirez rolled one into the hole; d'Arnaud got the force as the run scored. But never fear. Jeff Baker pounded one to Josh Harrison at third, and it around the horn for the Bucs fourth DP in four innings, a new season high for a game.
For the Bucs, Maholm singled with two away ; he's got it all going today. Presley one hopped a ball off Castro's chest for the young SS's eighteenth error of the season. d'Arnaud roped a slider, but straight into A-Ram's leather to end the frame.
Maholm threw a clean fifth. Walker got the Bucs rolling with a triple, and that was it for Ortiz. Chris Carpenter (no, not that one - he's with the Cards) came on, and gave up a short sac fly to McCutch, his fifth RBI of the afternoon. That made it 6-1, Buccos.
Darwin Barney began the sixth with a bloop single just over the outstretched glove of Walker. Blake DeWitt hit a sharp grounder to Walker, but he couldn't get two as the ball rolled up his arm. He took the sure bet at first. Johnson lined a rope that Harrison dove and snagged, and Castro K'ed on a pitch Manny Sanguillen couldn't hit.
James Russell took the hill for Chicago, and put the bottom of the Bucs order down 1-2-3. A Harrison misthrow put a Cubbie on board in the seventh, but PM K'ed the next pair to pick up his teammate. That gives him eight on the day, equaling his season high. Russell again threw a clean frame, getting three grounders from Pittsburgh bats.
With one away, Barney doubled. That was it it for Maholm, who gave the fans a tip o' the cap as they stood and roared as he walked to the dugout. PM went 7-1/3 innings, giving up four hits, a run, and striking out eight while throwing 101 pitches on a steamy day. His ERA is now down to 2.96. Chris Resop came on and put away the Cubbies in the eighth.
John Grabow came to mop up, and had a rough time against his old club. McCutch lined out, and Overbay rolled a three-hopper into center. Brandon Wood walked and Xavier Paul whiffed, then the trouble started. A walk to McKenry loaded the bases, and an opposite field double by Garrett Jones made it 8-1. A wild pitch brought home another, and the inning ended when plate ump John Hirshbeck struck out Presley on a 3-2 pitch that was six inches outside. MLB mercy rule, we suppose.
Jose Veras closed the curtain on what's been a very good opening act for the Pirates. Now they're off until friday, when the club visits Houston. Ya might want to watch baseball on TV Tuesday, though - there might be a Bucco or two on the tube.
- How much do McCutch and Walker love Cub pitching? McCutch had 5 RBI today and The Pittsburgh Kid had a pair of doubles, a triple, RBI and two runs scored. McCutch has a 24 game streak of reaching safely against the Cubs; Walker has hit safely in all 18 games he's played against Chicago.
- 31,428 fans attended today's game.
- Steve Beimel and Ronny Cedeno could be activated for the Houston series. Steve Pearce will begin his rehab with the GCL Pirates, and Jose Tabata should begin his by mid-week.