CHICAGO, May 25—The Pittsburgh Pirates headed over to the north side of Chicago to play a three-game set. On the mound for the Pirates was Paul Maholm who has been frustrated as of late, not getting the run support he has needed to get the wins, despite pitching well.
The Buc bats started off right. In the first inning Freddy Sanchez hit a one-out double that should have been a single, but he legged it out and went into second standing. Adam LaRoche followed a pop out by Nate McLouth and brought a hustling Sanchez home, Pirates 1-0. Brandon Moss was called out on strikes to end the inning. The second baseman is leading the league in doubles with 17 on the season.
The Pirates wearing their gray uniforms and red caps took the field and went to work. On a long at-bat, Alfonso Soriano finally walked on a pitch that looked like a third strike called by Bob Davidson. Ryan Theriot doubled down the third-base line scoring Soriano from first, tying the game at one apiece.
Ryan Dempster is best when he can keep his pitches on the inside corners. To start the third with one out, Nyjer Morgan drew his 18th walk on the season. Freddy Sanchez followed with a single to right and a pitch in the dirt allowed Sanchez to move to second.
Nate McLouth then took a little shot to the knee cap and the bases were loaded for Adam LaRoche who walked, sending home a run. Jose Ascanio was up in the bullpen and Ryan Dempster walked Brandon Moss to score another run. Dempster was really in trouble walking all around the mound looking frustrated and upset. Andy LaRoche grounded into a double play to end the inning, swinging at a pitch that looked like ball four. The Pirates left the bases loaded but picked up a couple of runs the ugly way; the lead, 3-1.
Pitches started floating on Maholm in the third as he missed high. Soriano walked to start the bottom of the third. Theiriot got his second double moving Soriano to third. Then Milton Bradley doubled to left scoring Soriano and Theriot. It was Bradley’s third double of the season.
Still with one out, Soto singled to center scoring Bradley, Cubs 4-3. Soto went to second on a ground out by Hoffpauir. Rayn Freel grounded out to end the inning.
In the fourth, Jason Jaramillo hit a leadoff double with Dempster still on the mound. Dempster tried to pick off Jaramillo at second, but the throw sailed into center field and Jaramillo moved to third. The Cubs have had a couple of miscues this season with pitchers trying to pick off runners. Jack Wilson followed with a bloop hit and Jarmillo scored from third.
A little sacrifice infield grounder moved Wilson over to second with one out. Morgan flied out to center but next, Sanchez collect his third hit of the game, driving a home run to deep center, scoring WilsonPirates 6-4. McLouth struck out swinging to end the inning.
During the inning, you could hear Davidson the home plate umpire shouting out at Dempster who was arguing the pitch calls, as no one seemed happy with the pitch calling.
In the bottom half, Chicago got a freebee, as Jaramillo failed to glove a strike three call and Aaron Miles was safe at first. Soriano hit a funny grounder that took a nasty hop, but Sanchez was able to field it and got the out at first.
Theiriot got his third double of the game and then very quickly Milton Bradley hit a switch-hit homer to left center, making it 7-6. Reed Johnson then got a single before Soto flied out to end the inning.
The slugfest continued in the fifth. After a ground out by Adam LaRoche, the Pirates got consecutive singles from Moss, Andy LaRoche, and Jaramillo. Wilson then popped one up for the second out.
Craig Monroe came in to pinch-hit for Maholm. Everyone was feeling a little frustrated as pitches that looked like strikes were balls, and balls were strikes. Monroe flied out to center, leaving the bases loaded again.
The Pirates came back in the sixth with a one-out single to center from Sanchez, followed by a smoking homer to right by McLouth to put the Pirates up by one. Adam LaRoche then doubled to center and moved to third on a ground out by Moss. Andy LaRoche then doubled to rightoff of the diving glove of Bradley, Adam easily scored from third. Jaramillo grounded out to end the inning, Pirates 10-7.
In the seventh, Morgan hit a hard shot off the ivy in center followed by an infield single by Sanchez scoring Morgan. The Pirates loaded the bases again but could not get any more runs around and left them that way for the third time.
In the bottom half, the Cubs got a run back after consecutive walks to Reed Johnson and Soto, followed with a two-out single by Freel. Later, with runners on first and second, Jesse Chavez came on and struck out crowd favorite Carlos Zambrano to end the threat, Pirates 10-8.
This was the end of the scoring, however, the Pirates got another kind of scare in the bottom of the ninth as Soto hit a line shot right back at reliever Matt Capps. In excruciation pain, Capps had to leave the game. It looked like it might have caught him somewhere in his throwing hand. Sean Burnett came on to retire the Cubs to end the game.
The injury only adds to the questions surrounding Capps and his poor performance over the past month. The Pirates recently acquired a couple of relievers out of the New York Yankees farm organization, and Tom Gorzelanny called up in an emergency a week ago, looks like he might be here to stay for at least a while. Gorzelanny was credited with the win, and is 2-1 in his short career at the Major League level.
In the game Sanchez went 6-for-6 with four runs and three RBI…It was the former batting champion's first six-hit game of this career...The Pirates got 10 runs on 18 hits as Andy LaRoche and Jaramillo also had three-hit performances.
The Cubs got eight runs on 10 hits and had an error…Theriot was three-for-five with three doubles and two RBI…Bradley with his homerun collected four RBI for the Cubs…The Cubs losing streak is now at eight games.
The Pirates Ian Snell (1-4, 4.88 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow against Sean Marshall (2-3, 3.96 ERA).