Promising start turns into tough loss

Promising start turns into tough loss

PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-6, on Wednesday in the completion of Tuesday night's game that was suspended by rain in the seventh inning at PNC Park.

Both teams endured a rain delay of two hours and 18 minutes on Tuesday night. The last time the Pirates had a suspended game was April 20, 1986, in Chicago. That game was tied at 8, and was suspended at the end of the 13th inning. The Pirates won the game, 10-8, in 15 innings.

"We're not making any excuses," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "We had too many chances to put that seventh inning down and we didn't do it. We rebound, we've got the rubber game of the series, and we're going to try and win that game with Ian Snell."

The Pirates held a 5-2 lead going into the top of the seventh when the Cubs exploded against the Bucs' typically reliable bullpen.

Pinch-hitter Matt Murton and Alfonso Soriano delivered back-to-back RBI doubles with two outs off John Grabow. Cliff Floyd then crushed a 451-foot two-run home run to right off Jonah Bayliss that bounced into the Allegheny River, putting the Cubs on top.

The Cubs tacked on two insurance runs against Bucs right-hander John Wasdin in the eighth and ninth innings. Jacque Jones doubled and scored on an RBI single by Murton. Floyd doubled and scored on an RBI single by Derrek Lee.

Bayliss was tagged with the loss, falling to 2-2. Rocky Cherry picked up his first Major League win for the Cubs, evening his record at 1-1.

Bucs starter Tony Armas hurled six innings and gave up two runs on six hits but received a no-decision.

Cubs starter Ted Lilly also got a no-decision. Lilly lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits.

Armas didn't even have time to catch his breath before the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Soriano led off the game with a home run to dead center field. It was Soriano's first home run this season and marked the 33rd time that he has led off a game with a home run in his career.

The Pirates came right back in the bottom of the first inning. Chris Duffy singled, and Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez followed with bunt singles to load the bases. With one out, Ryan Doumit drew a walk, scoring Duffy. Jose Bautista hit a ground ball to Cubs first baseman Lee, who threw to shortstop Cesar Izturis, forcing Doumit. Izturis' subsequent throw to Lilly at first went into the Cubs' dugout, allowing Wilson and Sanchez to score and giving Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.

Jones stroked a solo home run to center field, cutting the Pirates' lead to 3-2. It was the first home run of the season for Jones.

Pittsburgh tallied again in the bottom of the second inning as Paulino led off with a single and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Wilson, upping the Bucs' advantage to 4-2.

Paulino cracked his second home run of the season in the fourth inning, increasing the Pirates' lead to 5-2.

George Von Benko is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.