Going into the fourth, it looked a lot like a Sandy Koufax-Juan Marichal matchup. But the Bucs broke through in their half against Edwin Jackson. Garrett Jones singled the opposite way to lead things off and rambled home on a Cutch double to the left field corner. Two grounders plated him and it was 2-0 Pirates.
The next couple of frames also went by quietly enough. Through six, Rodriguez was spinning a one-hitter with a walk and four K while Jackson had a three-hitter with a walk and five whiffs through five. Hector Rondon threw a zippo sixth for Chicago, though he did walk a couple of Corsairs.
In the seventh, the Cubs made some big-time noise as Wandy lost his command a bit and plunked a couple of batters; maybe his hand was going numb from the 35 degree temps. Those beanings and an Alfonso Soriano single loaded the bases with an out. Brent Lillibridge ran the count full, but fortunately froze on the tenth pitch, a slow hook that was hung, to take strike three. Prior to that hook, he had banged a couple of heaters for loud fouls, hooking one shot outside the foul pole and another missing the line by inches.
That was it for Rodriguez as Hurdle brought on Tony Watson. He promptly fell behind Alberto Gonzalez 3-0, focused to toss a couple of strikes to run the count full and ended the frame with a pop to Cutch. Mike Bowden took the bump for the Cubs. Clint Barmes led off with a ground rule double, was bunted to third by Watson (we're assuming with a day game tomorrow, Hurdle is being ginger with his bullpen) and Starling Marte singled him home through a drawn-in infield.
Watson took care of Cubs 1-2-3 in the eighth. Shawn Camp took the ball for the Chi-Town nine. He got a pair of pops sandwiched around a smoked single to right by Pedro. Dale Sveum again opted to turn Neil Walker around, bringing on lefty Hisanori Takahashi, one of the Bucs' deadline duds last year. The Kid hit a soft liner to second, and it was Grilli time.
Though he had the pad to work with, the song was the same as Jason was facing the 4-5-6 hitters, just like in his set-up days. He got Anthony Rizzo on a bouncer and made his first save of the year look easy after that, K'ing Soriano and Nate Schierholtz swinging to finish with a flourish.
The Bucs will try to take the series tomorrow afternoon when James McDonald takes on Travis Wood.
- The Pirates drew 27,667 brrr-to-the-bone fans tonight. It should be better tomorrow afternoon for the getaway game, as temps are supposed to hit the mid fifties.