Cubs 5, Pirates 2: Welcome the Relief Corps

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Cubs 5, Pirates 2: Welcome the Relief Corps
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cubs got timely hitting, good pitching, and the obligatory theatrics Wednesday, seizing a three-run eighth inning to beat the Pirates 5-2.

Reed Johnson would get the game-winning hit, sending a solo shot into the right-field bleachers to start off the inning.

It's fascinating to watch so much change take place inside of a day. First, the Cubs are back on a winning streak, taking a series for the first time in two weeks.

They also scored more runs in each of the games against the Pirates than they did combined in their last two series.

But the biggest of news is definitely the roster changes. Officially, the moves are as follows:

Aaron Miles—15 day DL

Neal Cotts and Bobby Scales—Optioned to AAA Iowa

Jake Fox, Jason Waddell, and Andres Blanco—Recalled to the major league club

 

My joy runs over. Neal Cotts, good riddance. It's time to acknowledge that 2005 was a fluke, and move on. I know lefties get a long leash, but really. Enough.

Andres Blanco. Fantastic. I thought he should have made the club out of spring training. Consider his presence here another acknowledgement that the Cubs' vision for 2009 was terribly flawed.

And Jake Fox? Beats the hell out of "the other guys". Stick him at third for a bit, and let's see if he can hit major league pitching once and for all. Worst case, if he can muster better than a .600 OPS, he's still an upgrade.

So, the Cubs scored runs, won two in a row, relieved themselves of the team's red-headed stepchildren, and got immediate contributions from their call-ups (Fox and Blanco hit RBI doubles in the eighth).

What could possibly make this day bad? Carlos Zambrano.

Yes, Carlos, who got himself ejected from the game with a rant that should have made manager Lou Piniella proud; finger-pointing, tossing objects, and all.

The only downside was that it was so audacious that he's all but guaranteed a healthy fine and suspension, even if he hadn't bumped the ump, which I'm pretty sure he did.

Here's how it went down. With Nyjer Morgan on third in the seventh inning, Zambrano threw a wild pitch that Morgan races home on. Geovany Soto threw to Zambrano at the plate, and he applied the tag.

It's a close play, to be sure. But Morgan was clearly safe, and Zambrano just came undone.

On the field. In the dugout. Down the steps. And I'm pretty sure in the clubhouse.

The funniest point had to be when he came back to the dugout, just to get a couple of extra cracks with the bat on that Gatorade machine. Pity the poor Gatorade machine.

That's now three outlandish swipes at the umpires in the last week, by supposed leaders of this team. Hmm. Let the war begin, I guess.

The Cubs may not make the playoffs, but at least they're going to make this season interesting.

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