(Sports Network) - Though the season is a lost one for the Cubs, they will still try to make Monday's opener with the Pirates a special one. Standing in the way is Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm, who aims for a fourth victory in as many starts versus Chicago this year.
Prior to tonight's opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field, Chicago, in interim manager Mike Quade's home debut, will honor recent Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson.
Known as "The Hawk", Dawson played with the Cubs from 1987-92 and hit .285 over his six years with Chicago, posting 174 of his career 438 homers in that span. He won the National League MVP in his first season with Chicago, notching a .287 average with 49 homers and 137 RBI.
Dawson also won two of his eight NL Gold Gloves with the Cubs, so he would have been both proud and disappointed with Chicago's effort on Sunday. He would have loved Kosuke Fukudome's game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning, but the current Cubs outfielder also committed a throwing error that allowed the Reds to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame on the way to handing Chicago a 7-5 setback.
Casey Coleman allowed four runs over six innings in the start and reliever Sean Marshall took the loss after yielding the two eighth-inning runs.
"They have a really good lineup," Coleman said of the Reds. "I tried to attack the zone like I did last time but they got a few hits and found some holes. I tried to minimize the damage and give up one run at a time but against a tough team like that, those runs can come back to hurt you."
Sunday's loss gave the Cubs a 4-2 mark on their six-game road trip, their first under the Illinois-born Quade, who took over at the start of the trip after Lou Piniella stepped down from his role as manager.
Carlos Zambrano will try to give his interim manager a victory tonight in the opener of a nine-game homestand. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.25 earned run average in four starts since returning to Chicago's rotation.
Zambrano, who was recently in Venezuela to visit an ill nephew, hurled a season-high 7 1/3 innings versus the Nationals in a victory on Tuesday, holding the club to a run on five hits while striking out eight. He improved to 5-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 29 games this year, 13 of those starts.
The 29-year-old faced the Pirates in relief back on May 14 and took a loss for allowing three runs over an inning of work. In 29 career outings versus Pittsburgh, including 25 starts, he is 11-8 with a 4.16 ERA.
Zambrano will try to prevent Maholm from improving to 4-0 versus the Cubs this year. The 28-year-old is pitching to a 2.25 ERA over his three previous meetings with Chicago in 2010 and hasn't lost to the club since Aug. 2, 2008. He is 7-1 in his career versus the Cubs despite a 5.70 ERA.
Maholm is winless since Aug. 3, but did snap a three-start losing streak by posting a no-decision versus the Cardinals on Tuesday. The lefty allowed a pair of runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings of his club's eventual 4-3 triumph.
Maholm, who has just one win in his last seven starts, is 7-12 this year with a 4.82 ERA.
Pittsburgh will look to bounce back tonight after getting swept by Milwaukee in three games over the weekend. It dropped Sunday's contest, 8-4, despite homers by Neil Walker, Ryan Doumit and Delwyn Young.
Charlie Morton, making his first start since May 27th, lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his return from the minors. The right-hander was tagged for eight runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits.
"It was bad. It was frustrating," Morton said. "I just have to shake it off and get back out there. The first game back I obviously wanted to do better than I did today."
Pittsburgh All-Star reliever Evan Meek left the game in the eighth inning after getting hit on the right pitching wrist by a line drive, but x-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.
The Pirates have won nine of 12 over the Cubs this year, taking four of six so far at Wrigley Field.