Oh, he wasn't brilliant; he gave up nine hits, all singles, and tossed 95 pitches. But he only gave up one earned run as the Buc bats finally treated a waiver wire pitcher, Jason Berken, well, like a waiver wire pitcher. It took a while; the Pirates just scored single runs off him in the first three frames.
Starling Marte was plunked to open the game, and went to third when C Welington Castillo threw behind him on a pickoff try. Garrett Jones' fly scored him. To start the second, Pedro, Clint Barmes (on a hit-and-run) and Rod Barajas hit back-to-back-to back singles to plate another, a big inning being saved by Josh Vitters, who knocked down a bullet to third by Marte to save extra bases. Cutch began the third frame by falling behind 0-2, working the count full and then taking a Berken change over the left field wall.
Meanwhile, Wandy worked a clean first and got out of a modest jam in the second when The Kid started a DP nicely turned by Barmes. He was nicked for a run in the third when three ground ball singles found the grass, Anthony Rizzo's bringing in Joe Mather, who had stolen third, with two down.
The Bucs broke it open in the fourth in a frame that should have been a 1-2-3 affair. Barmes reached on a Vitters' boot, and was at third two outs later after a pair of grounders. Marte tripled him home, and Travis Snider followed with a bloop to tally Marte. Cutch singled and Jones doubled, going the opposite way and catching a break as his shot past third went off Vitters' mitt, chasing Snider in to make it 6-1. Wandy gave up a lead off knock, but erased Starlin Castro on a 6-4-3 two batters later.
The Bucs went down quietly to Rafael Dolis in the fifth while the Cubbies picked up a couple of unearned runs. An infield single and a throwing error on a force try put the first two Cubs aboard. A grounder and a soft two out roller by Alfonso Soriano rung up a pair to make it 6-3. Jeff Belliveau took the mound in the sixth, and stranded a pair after a Marte double and intentional walk to Cutch, while Wandy left a Cub at first in their half.
Alberto Cabrera climbed the hill in the seventh, and with two down, Barmes slugged a heater over the wall in left to make it 7-3. Tony Watson and Jared Hughes teamed up for a goose egg. The Bucs went down cleanly in the eighth; the Cubs picked up another run of Jason Grilli with a leadoff double by Starlin Castro was cashed in by a Luis Valbuena knock.
Michael Bowden put up a zip for the Cubs in the ninth, and Hanny came on for his first save opp since August 27th. Kinda rough outing; he gave up a bloop double to Mather and walked Darwin Barney. After an out, Soriano singled home Mather and send Barney to third. Tony Campana came on to run, and and out later stole second, putting Cubbies at second and third with two away. Castillo walked to juice the sacks, and Jeff Samardzija ran for him. Valbuena drew a five pitch free pass to make it 7-6. But the drama came to an end finally; Dave Sappelt went down swinging at a 2-2 heater.
Sure not pretty, but hey, it's a W. Jeff Locke goes against Chris Volstad tomorrow afternoon.
- Today's home run by Cutch gives him 28 on the season, tying the club record for most HR hit as a CF with Brian Giles (1999).
- Despite the heart-thumping drama, Hanny has converted 35 of 38 save opportunities and now has 15 straight save conversions.
- Cutch (single and homer), Starling Marte (double and triple) and Clint Barmes (single and homer) each had a pair of hits for Pittsburgh.