Pirates 9, Cubs 1
Paul Maholm and his Pirates teammates aren’t looking at the
National League Central standings or checking the out-of-town
Too early in the season, the lefty starter said. Funny, because
it’s been a long time since Pittsburgh’s been this good this
Andrew McCutchen homered and drove in five runs, and the Pirates
beat the Chicago Cubs 9-1 on Sunday to enter the All-Star break
with their best record in 19 years.
”It’s early, and everybody in here understands that we’re going
day-to-day and series-to-series,” Maholm said. The Pirates
remained a game behind St. Louis and Milwaukee in the National
League Central when both also won on Sunday.
”If we keep winning series, other stuff will take care of
itself,” Maholm added. ”If we get to Sept. 15 or 20, then that
will be time to worry about that stuff, but now it’s win series and
continue to be playing well and having fun.”
The Pirates did that in front of another big crowd (31,428) at
PNC Park on Sunday, improving to 7-1-1 in their past nine home
Maholm allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings, and McCutchen had a
three-run homer and two sacrifice flies. Neil Walker went 3 for 4,
and Alex Presley had two hits and scored two runs for
The surprising Pirates (47-43) have their best record and are
closer to first place this late in the season than at any time
since their most recent winning season in 1992.
”We’re getting our wins and competing with every single team,”
McCutchen said. ”It’s real good to finish up (the first half)
Rookie Darwin Barney had two hits for the Cubs, who have lost
seven of 10.
A day after he made the All-Star team for the first time,
McCutchen already had a sacrifice fly when he came up with Presley
and Walker aboard in the third. He sent an 0-1 pitch from Ramon
Ortiz (0-2) into the Cubs’ bullpen in left-center for his 14th
During both the first and third innings, Presley singled and
Walker hit a one-out double before McCutchen came up.
Walker tripled leading off the fifth to chase Ortiz. He scored
on McCutchen’s fly ball against Chris Carpenter.
Maholm (6-9) allowed four hits, finishing with eight strikeouts
and no walks. The left-hander improved to 9-2 in his career against
the Cubs and has allowed only one run in 23 1-3 innings against
them this season.
Reed Johnson scored on Aramis Ramirez’s fielder’s choice in the
fourth for Chicago’s first run off Maholm in 19 innings this
season. Johnson started the inning with a double and moved to third
on Starlin Castro’s single.
The only other hits Maholm were by Barney, in the sixth and
Chris Resop got Johnson to fly out to end the eighth, and Jose
Veras finished the four-hitter.
Since shutting out Chicago on May 28, Maholm is 5-2 with a 2.29
ERA in nine starts.
Via hit batters and Pittsburgh errors, Chicago had baserunners
Sunday, but the Pirates turned a double play in each of the first
”If you play good baseball, you’ve got a chance to win,”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ”We played better than them
today. We flat-out out-pitched them, we out-fielded them and
out-hit them. That gives you a chance to win.”
Making his second start since his contract was purchased from
Triple-A Iowa, the 38-year-old Ortiz was charged with six runs and
”He competes,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said. ”He just didn’t
have real good stuff today.”
Ortiz realizes that he might not be in the Cubs’ plans coming
out of the All-star break, particularly after such a shaky
”I don’t have a contract for anything,” he said. ”I only have
a contract to throw the ball, that’s it. I don’t want to think
about what’s going to happen.
”I felt good today,” he added. ”I missed a couple pitches
high in the zone, and they hit it.”
Notes: Pittsburgh RHP Kevin Correia was added to the NL All-Star
team as a replacement for Phillies LHP Cole Hamels. The selection
gives the Pirates three All-stars for the first time since 1990.
… The Pirates are expected to activate LHP Joe Beimel from the
disabled list in time for their next game on Friday. … Walker has
hit safely in all 18 of his career games against the Cubs and
McCutchen has reached safely in each of his past 23 games against
Chicago. … Chicago lost for the 15th time in its past 23 games,
but all but one of the previous defeats in that stretch were by
three runs or less.