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The Pirates set the tone early when Pedro Alvarez crushed his first home run since May 3 to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
While the offense would grow dormant in the middle innings, Erik Bedard would keep the Cubs at bay, allowing just two hits in six innings and no runs.
The Pirates would receive a spark in the bottom of the fifth when Andrew McCutchen hit his eighth homer of the year to increase the lead to 4-0. In the bottom of the sixth, the Bucs broke the game open with six runs, highlighted by a Garrett Jones two-run home run and Gorkys Hernandez's first career MLB hit, a two-run single.
The Pirates will look to improve their record to .500 when they welcome the first-place Cincinnati Reds to PNC Park Monday afternoon.
Here are the lineups for the Cubs’ and Pirates’ matchup at 1:35 on Sunday, as the Pirates go for the sweep against the flailing Cubbies.
David DeJesus RF
Starlin Castro SS
Joe Mather 3B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Jeff Baker 1B
Reed Johnson CF
Darwin Barney 2B
Koyie Hill C
Matt Garza P
Jose Tabata LF
Josh Harrison SS
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Neil Walker 2B
Garrett Jones RF
Matt Hague 1B
Michael McKenry C
Erik Bedard P
That’s one of the better lineups the Pirates have had recently, though that might not be saying much. Harrison is playing out of position and Jones isn’t much of a defensive outfielder. But Harrison in place of Clint Barmes is an offensive upgrade, at least for now, and of the putrid options the Pirates have to play first base and right field, Hague and Jones are probably the two best hitters.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (22-24) have an opportunity to sweep the Chicago Cubs (15-31) Sunday afternoon after winning the first game of the three game series 1-0 and winning Saturday on a walk-off hit by pitch. The expected starting pitchers are Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.52 ERA) taking the hill for the Pirates and Matt Garza (2-2 3.72 ERA) throwing for the Cubs.
A win would give Pittsburgh their second three game win streak of the month, and they'll look to achieve that with more hitting from Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker. McCutchen went 2-for-3 on Saturday and has reached base in 33 straight games versus Chicago, while walker went 1-for-2 on Saturday and is batting .343 for the season. Both had stolen bases on Saturday, with McCutchen grabbing two and Walker one.
Game Time: 1:35pm EDT
Location: PNC Park
Television: Root Sports
Streaming Online: via MLB.tv
For just the 58th time in the last 64 years, a game ended on a walkoff hit by pitch. And on Saturday at PNC Park that happened in the Pirates' favor, resulting in a 3-2 win over the last-place Chicago Cubs (15-31).
With the game tied at two heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Jose Tabata singled, then Josh Harrison and Neil Walker would later walk to load the bases. Moments later, Matt Hague was hit by a pitch, bringing in the winning run and giving Pittsburgh (22-24) its second straight win over the Cubs.
The Pirates were aided by a strong outing from starting pitcher Kevin Correia, who lasted six and one-third innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs.
The series finale is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. EST.
Here's what the Pirates lineup will look like tonight:
Tonight's lineup vs. Cub: Tabata 7 Harrison 9 McCutchen 8 Alvarez 5 Walker 4 Hague 3 Barajas 2 Barmes 6 Correia 1— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 26, 2012
And for the Cubs, here is the lineup they will put on the field:
On Friday night, Pittsburgh took game one of the series with a 1-0 shutout of Chicago.
The Pittsburgh Pirates managed to beat the worst team in baseball by a score of 1-0 on Friday. That's right, the Chicago Cubs couldn't even score a single run against the A.J. Burnett and the Bucs, and really, not much gives one reason to believe the Cubbies will do much better on Saturday.
That's where the Pirates have to capitalize, since they won't get too many wins quite as easy as this throughout the season. The Cubs are 15-30 on the season and losers of 10 straight games since defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 12 days ago.
Take a look here at the game schedule:
Date/Time: Saturday, May 26, 7:15 p.m. ET
Location: PNC Park
Online streaming: MLB.TV
A.J. Burnett went 5.1 innings, allowing no runs on just six hits. He struck out six and walked two, but left the game in the 6th after the Cubs put men on first and second with one out. He threw a lot of pitches but it was a solid performance opposite Ryan Dempster. Jared Hughes finished off the fifth inning for Burnett, getting out of the one-out jam. Jason Grilli then came on in relief of Hughes and overpowered the Cubs by striking out the side. Grilli has now struck out the last seven hitters he's faced, spanning three appearances.
The Hammer, Joel Hanrahan came on to finish off the great night for the Pirate pitching staff. Hanrahan did give up two hits in the inning as the Cubs threatened to tie it up. But he battled back to strike out David Dejesus and Starlin Castro to slam the door and record his 12th save.
The only offense of the night came early for Pittsburgh. The Bucs took the 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd, stringing together a couple hits to plate a run against the impressive Dempster. Pedro Alvarez led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a groundout by recently recalled Matt Hague. Rod Barajas then singled to right to knock in Alvarez for the game's only run.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs lineups for Friday's game have been announced with Matt Hague making the move to first base instead of Garrett Jones or Casey McGehee. Hague was moved to first in what appears to be a desperate move to shake things up a bit for a struggling Pirates squad.
Here is a look at both lineups for Friday's game:
1. David DeJesus (L) RF
2. Starlin Castro (R) SS
3. Joe Mather (R) CF
4. Bryan LaHair (L) 1B
5. Alfonso Soriano (R) LF
6. Adrian Cardenas (L) 3B
7. Darwin Barney (R) 2B
8. Koyie Hill (S) C
9. Ryan Dempster (R) P
The Pirates have designated outfielder Nate McLouth for assignment, Michael Sanserino reports. McLouth will be replaced on their roster by first baseman Matt Hague.
McLouth hit just .140/.210/.175 in 57 at bats for the Bucs. Hague wasn’t hitting particularly well in Class AAA Indianapolis, but it shouldn’t be hard for him to be better than McLouth was.
McLouth has had increasing problems hitting for average as he has aged, so it’s no surprise that he flopped with the Pirates, and that the $1.75 million they spent on him was a waste of money. Here’s what I wrote about his signing when it happened:
Maybe McLouth comes back to Pittsburgh, recovers a little bit of that 2008 magic, and helps out as a bench player. I’ll be rooting for him. But it looks at least as likely to me that he joins with Clint Barmes, Rod Barajas and Pedro Alvarez to help the Pirates make a run at the modern record for lowest team batting average. I’m kind of kidding, but kind of not.
My semi-joke has unfortunately turned out to be accurate so far, as none of those players have a batting average higher than .212 (and there are a bunch of other offensive players in the same vicinity as well).
In any case, the McLouth signing wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it wasn’t the front office’s finest hour, either. The Pirates shouldn’t have paid more than the league minimum for McLouth. The signing is also part of a consistent pattern the front office has had of signing free agent hitters who perform terribly.
For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.
The Pirates open up a three-game series against the Cubs at PNC Park.