Pirates Continue Dominance Over the Cubs – Cubs 1 Pirates 2

Game Fifty-Two – Cubs 1 Pirates 2
WP – Evan Meek (3-1) LP – Sean Marshall (5-2) Save – Octavio Dotel (11)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have won 21 games all season … six have come at the Cubs’ expense. The Pirates continued their dominance over the Chicago Cubs and improved to 6-1 on the year against Lou Piniella’s crew.

The mainstream media will point to James Russell and Sean Marshall giving up two runs after Randy Wells left the game, but the bottom line is the Cubs lineup is not getting it done. Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee were a combined 0-for-7 with a walk and four strikeouts. Lee and Ramirez left 10 runners on base.

The Cubs only run came after a gift-triple by Alfonso Soriano in the second and a ground out to third by Geovany Soto.

For the day, the Cubs pathetic offense managed only four hits and finished the game 0-for-8 with RISP and left eight on base. Lou Piniella keeps talking about making changes … but he keeps running out the same tired, old lineup.

Randy Wells rebounded from his 16 pitches on Friday and kept the Pirates off the board for five innings. Wells was not sharp, despite his line. Wells threw 90 pitches, 52 for strikes, and appeared to lose his concentration with two outs. All three of Wells’ three free passes were issued with two outs. Wells gave up only three hits and struck out three.

Garrett Jones tied the game in the sixth on a 2-0 pitch from James Russell. Jones reached down and pulled the ball over the wall in right … it was Jones’ first homer since May 14 off of Carlos Zambrano.

After posting five straight wins in May, Sean Marshall surrendered a one-out double to Garrett Jones in the eighth. Marshall intentionally walked Ryan Doumit with two outs then gave up a single to center on a 3-2 offering to pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby.

The only bright spot on Memorial Day for the Chicago Cubs … Andrew Cashner made his big league debut in the eighth inning. Cashner threw one 95 MPH fastball to Ronny Cedeno and retired him on a pop out to Starlin Castro.

With the loss, the Cubs finished May 13-15 and will begin June four games under .500 with a 24-28 record …

The Cubs only run came in the second inning. Alfonso Soriano reached on a triple to left center with one out. The Cubs first hit was a gift … the ball fell between Ryan Church and Andrew McCutchen. Geovany Soto then grounded out to third on Ross Ohlendorf’s first pitch. Soriano broke and scored.

The offense did not get another hit after the fourth inning until two outs in the ninth.

Aramis Ramirez came to the plate four times Monday afternoon and failed all four times. Ramirez is not hitting and in many cases not putting the ball in play. Leaving Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the middle of the lineup has cost the Cubs several games this season.

It is not early anymore. Lee and Ramirez’s struggles appear to be around to stay.

The Pirates ended the game in the eighth inning. Garrett Jones doubled to right off of Sean Marshall. Lastings Milledge grounded out to third for the second out and Ryan Doumit was intentionally walked.

Bobby Crosby pinch-hit for Jeff Clement. Marshall fell behind Crosby 3-1 then served up a fastball on a 3-2 pitch. Crosby took it back up the middle and Jones scored without a throw … 2-1 Pirates.

The Cubs lack of fundamentals was on full display once again Memorial Day. Starlin Castro reached on a two-out, bloop single to right. Ryan Theriot swung at four pitches from Octavio Dotel … game over. Theriot should have given Castro a chance to steal second but instead the overly aggressive Theriot fouled off three pitches then struck out on a foul tip to end the game.

Tuesday is a new day and a new month …

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Jeff Karstens Tuesday night.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast." - Joe Garagiola
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