Pirates send Cubs to team-record 50th home loss
Once again, the Chicago Cubs wound up on the wrong end at Wrigley Field.
Chris Rusin was chased in the third inning and the Cubs fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 Tuesday night, setting a team record with their 50th home loss in a season.
''To lose that many games at home, it's something you got to stay away from,'' manager Dale Sveum said.
''For whatever reason, we got to score more runs at home and do something at home. This year has just been tough, (we) just seem to do more things on the road than we have at home,'' he said.
At 30-50, the Cubs have the second-fewest home wins in the majors. Houston has 24.
Rusin (2-6) gave up four runs and six hits in just 2 1-3 innings against the playoff-bound Pirates.
''All my offspeed stuff was up, my fastball was up,'' Rusin said. ''They took those pitches, got hits with them and put one over the fence. I just didn't keep the ball down today.''
Pedro Alvarez opened the scoring when his second-inning double to right got stuck in the ivy, driving in Marlon Byrd. With two outs, pitcher Gerrit Cole singled home Gaby Sanchez and Alvarez.
Jordy Mercer hit a solo shot to open the third. After getting Andrew McCutchen to ground out, Rusin gave up a single to Byrd and a double to Sanchez to end his night.
It was Rusin's second straight rough start after giving up six runs in four innings against Milwaukee. Including his time in the minors, he threw over 180 innings (187 1-3) for the first time in his career.
''I think he's probably a little bit worn down, because it's not the same guy when he first got here,'' Sveum said. ''I think when he was fresh he showed what he can do at this level.''
Even with a rough end to the season, Rusin still posted a solid 3.93 ERA and undoubtedly improved upon his 2012 season, his first in the majors, when he had a 6.37 ERA in seven starts.
''Without the last two starts, I think I did a pretty good job,'' Rusin said. ''I'm not satisfied, but it's a lot better than I did last year. I want to keep improving each year and that's what I did this year.''
Rusin hopes that next year he'll get a chance to break camp with the big league club and help them avoid so many losses, both at home and on the road.
''I'm going to do all I can to make the rotation,'' he said. ''If not, just go back to the drawing board and keep working harder. Don't take it to heart and just do whatever you can to get back.''
Chicago tried to rally in the sixth when Mercer mishandled Anthony Rizzo's bases-loaded grounder to shortstop, allowing Ryan Sweeney to score the team's second run. But Cole struck out Dioner Navarro and pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena before Donnie Murphy flied out deep on Cole's 34th pitch of the inning and his last one of the night.
Cole (10-7) won his fourth straight start, giving up two runs and seven hits in six strong innings. He struck out six and walked one.
NOTES: Logan Watkins started at second base, and Sveum said Darwin Barney was just getting a day off and would be back in the lineup Wednesday. Barney is hitting .156 in 20 September games. ... The pitching matchup Wednesday is Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.88) against RHP Jake Arrieta (3-2, 3.94).