Pirates 14, Cubs 7
The Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled almost everywhere this
season – except Wrigley Field.
Neil Walker and Garrett Jones each hit a long two-run homer, and
Pittsburgh beat the Chicago Cubs 14-7 on Tuesday night for a rare
Walker went 4 for 5 with four RBIs and three runs scored for the
Pirates, who won for only the fifth time in 43 road games and ended
a 14-game losing streak away from PNC Park.
”It’s been hard for us to win on the road recently, but when we
can do something like this it’s good going forward for
confidence,” Walker said. ”The biggest thing in a series is
trying to win that series and now we have an opportunity to do that
Koyie Hill hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who have lost 13 of
16 at home.
The Cubs are one of the few teams the Pirates have had success
against lately. Pittsburgh is 10-4 against Chicago this season and
has won 12 of 16 at Wrigley Field dating to a doubleheader sweep on
Sept. 30 last year.
The only teams the Pirates have a winning road record against
this season are the Cubs (5-3) and Rockies (2-1). Pittsburgh is
7-48 against the rest of its opponents away from home.
”They have our number for sure,” Cubs starter Ryan Dempster
said. ”The easiest thing for us is to put tonight behind us as
fast we can and come out tomorrow and win a game and win a series.
We can’t worry about games we played the beginning of the year or a
month ago, let alone a day ago.”
Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (3-10) avoided matching the
longest losing streak in the majors this season. He pitched six
strong innings and allowed two runs on four hits after missing his
previous turn with a fatigued arm.
The right-hander came into the game 0-8 with a 5.40 ERA in his
last 10 starts – a stretch that began with a loss at Wrigley on
June 29. Atlanta’s Kenshin Kawakami and Baltimore’s Brian Matusz
are the only pitchers to drop nine consecutive decisions this
”I feel better, I don’t know if I feel fresher. I didn’t really
have my legs underneath me until the second inning,” Karstens
said. ”I don’t know. Missing that start made my arm feel a lot
better. Now it’s just a matter of grinding it out and getting
through the season.”
Jose Tabata was 3 for 5 with three runs and two RBIs for the
Pirates, who lost 14-2 to the Cubs on Monday night.
”I think it would be easy to let yourself slip mentally and
physically into the place where when things go bad you fall into a
hole, but I think this group here and guys who have been around
this game for a long time know we’re going to fight to grind it
out. It’s part of our nature,” Walker said.
With a 14-2 lead in the eighth, Pirates reliever Sean Gallagher
allowed five runs. He gave up a pinch-hit RBI double to Micah
Hoffpauir and a pair of RBI singles to Starlin Castro and Xavier
Nady before being lifted.
Chan Ho Park gave up an RBI single to Alfonso Soriano before
getting the last out in the eighth. Castro was 2 for 4 and raised
his average to .315.
Dempster (12-9) had his worst outing of the season. He allowed a
season-high seven earned runs and seven hits in three innings, his
shortest start this year. Dempster had won his previous four
The Cubs (56-77) fell to 21 games under .500.
”The job is still the same coming to work. You’ve got to do
your job the best you can. It doesn’t say in your contract I’ll try
as hard as I can as long as we’re in it,” Dempster said.
”Obviously, we would like to be in a better position, but there
are still plenty of ballgames left and we have a month left in the
season, go out there and play hard every day and try to win as many
ballgames as we can.”
The Pirates scored four times off Dempster in the first inning.
Tabata walked and advanced to third on Walker’s single. Jones hit a
broken-bat comebacker to Dempster. Tabata scored as Dempster
bobbled the ball and had to settle for getting Jones at first for
the second out of the inning.
Pedro Alvarez followed with an RBI double. Then, after Dempster
hit Ryan Doumit with a pitch, Ronny Cedeno hit a two-run double to
The troubles continued for Dempster in the second inning. With
one out, he walked Andrew McCutchen, who stole second. Tabata hit a
triple over the head of center fielder Marlon Byrd to make it
In the third inning, McCutchen hit a two-run single to give the
Pirates a 7-0 lead.
Cubs reliever Marcos Mateo didn’t fare well, either. He gave up
a single to Walker, then Jones homered to left for his 20th of the
Walker tagged Mateo with a two-run shot to give the Pirates an
11-2 lead in the sixth. Tabata added another RBI single and Walker
had a two-run double off reliever James Russell in the seventh.
Notes: Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano pinch-hit for Dempster in the
third and grounded out. … Walker hit his eighth homer of the