Game Fifty-Seven – Cubs 6 Pirates 1
WP – Carlos Silva (8-0) LP – Dana Eveland (3-5) Save – Sean Marshall (1)
The Cubs were in desperate need of a victory and Carlos Silva got the job done. Silva has been the stopper all year for this ballclub, and he led the way to a 6-1 Cubs’ victory at PNC Park Monday afternoon.
Going into the game, the Cubs were 1-7 against the Pirates this season and winless in five tries at PNC Park. The one game makeup of a contest that was rained out last week was their final shot to get a victory in Pittsburgh this season.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, the first time Carlos Silva pitched at PNC this season was the first time the Cubs won at PNC this year. Carlos had his best stuff, going seven strong innings and allowing just four hits. He clearly took full advantage of a few extra days of rest that he was given because of the rain. Neil Walker doubled with one out in the bottom of the first, but after that Silva sent down the next twelve Pirates that came to the plate. He got into only one jam, which came in the fifth inning.
Bobby Crosby doubled to left, Ronny Cedeno reached on an infield single and Akinori Iwamura drew a walk- the only one issued by Silva all day. With the bases loaded, lead-off man Andrew McCutchen flied to left to retire the side.
Ryan Theriot, who had a rough first week of June at the plate, sparked the offense Monday. He reached base in all five at bats (technically he only reached in four because of a Carlos Silva baserunning mistake that turned into a fielder’s choice).
Theriot hit a double against Pittsburgh starter Dana Eveland to lead-off the game. He later scored the first Cubs run on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Baker, who spelled the slumping Aramis Ramirez at the hot corner. The top two hitters in the order were in the middle of the next Cubs’ rally in the third, when Baker drove in Theriot again, this time with an RBI double. The Riot also showed off two strengths that you like to see in a lead-off hitter; patience and speed.
Theriot walked twice Monday after going more than a month without a base on balls before he finally drew one on Saturday. Ryan also swiped two bags and has been successful in eleven of his twelve attempts to steal this season. He scored four of the six Cubs’ runs in Monday’s game. Geovany Soto got in on the act in the top of the fourth when he doubled home Marlon Byrd. Soto went 2-for-4 in his return to the lineup after two games off. Marlon had three hits including a line drive single to center in the seventh that allowed Theriot to scamper home for an insurance run.
Carlos Silva was still working on a shutout through six, but he allowed a run in his final inning of work. Lastings Milledge led off the frame with a double and would eventually score on a sac fly by Jason Jaramillo. Carlos struck out five on his way to his eighth victory of the season. He became the first Cub to begin a year 8-0 since Ken Holtzman pulled the trick going 9-0 in 1967. Also, it has been a century since the last time a guy started his Cubs’ career by winning his first eight decisions. The last to accomplish the feat … King Cole in 1910.
On the other side, Dana Eveland was making his Pirates debut. They picked him up after he was designated for assignment by Toronto. He was chased after five innings and was charged with three earned runs.
Jeff Stevens faced two batters in the eighth. He got pinch hitter Andy LaRoche to fly out, but then was removed after serving up a triple to Andrew McCutchen. Sean Marshall came in and worked out of it with a strike out and a grounder.
The Cubs’ bats went back to work to put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth. Singles from Theriot, Derrek Lee (1-for-5, RBI, Run Scored), and Byrd produced two more tallies. Lou Piniella had Carlos Marmol ready to go for the ninth, but when the Cubs added those two runs Marmol sat down. Piniella stuck with Marshall, who earned a five out save, his first of the year.
The Pirates did get something going in their last at bat, but Ronny Cedeno grounded into a fielder’s choice with two on and two out to end the game.
Piniella said before Saturday’s game in Houston that he planned to get Tyler Colvin in the lineup on a daily basis, but after two starts Tyler found himself back on the bench against the lefty on Monday. Colvin did get an at bat after pinch running in the seventh, but he struck out. Lou went with an all right handed hitting outfield of Xavier Nady (0-for-3, BB), Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3, two BB), and Byrd (3-for-4, two RBI).
The home crowd was certainly not a factor today. The attendance was reported as 12,768; but there were a lot of no-shows. Only about 2,500 people showed up for the Monday afternoon makeup game.
The Cubs are now 2-4 on the nine game road swing as the trip continues in Milwaukee Tuesday night. The Cubs will play three at Miller Park before returning home on Friday afternoon to start at Interleague series with the White Sox. This stretch of games (in Houston on Sunday, in Pittsburgh on Monday, and in Milwaukee on Tuesday) marks the first time the Cubs have played three games in three days in three different road parks since 2004.
Ted Lilly will square off against Yovani Gallardo Tuesday night at Miller Park