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by Zane Heiple

Photo by Getty Images

There was a lot of energy at PNC Park tonight as Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick would make their debuts in Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms tonight as they did battle with the Chicago Cubs.  Lee would have an amazing night at the plate going 2-4 with two home runs and three RBI.  Ludwick did not have as much luck as he would go 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.  Unfortunately for Pittsburgh Lee’s homers were not enough as they dropped their fourth straight game with a 5-3 loss to the Cubs.

Paul Maholm was on the mound tonight and thru the first five innings looked like the pitcher we have seen all season long, consistent with little to no run support.  Thru five innings he gave up one run on one hit.  It was the sixth inning that would haunt him.  Maholm was hit hard this inning allowing three runs on three hits.  Walks also hurt Paul tonight as he would give up three on the night.  When it was said and done, Maholm would go 6 innings allowing four runs on six hits  with three K’s and three walks.  The bullpen held it together as Jason Grilli pitched one inning of scoreless baseball striking out one batter.  Daniel McCutchen did give up an insurance run to the Cubs in the ninth.  He would pitch two innings striking out one and walking two. 

The offense did seem to gain a little bit of a spark tonight as seven of the eight position players to start the game did have at least one hit.  Unfortunately they did not come thru when it counted as eleven Buccos would be left on base.  Another chilling statistic was that out of the ten Pirates hits on the night only three were extra base hits, the two Lee home runs and an eighth inning double by Neal Walker.  Pedro Alvarez had two singles tonight but made a base running error when he was picked off second base by Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano.

This four game slide has the Pirates only a game over .500 now after they had been as many as seven over.  It also sees them drop to 5.5 games back of the division leading Milwaukee Brewers.  If this team is not feeling the pressure of a pennant race yet, I’m not sure they will.  With the loss tonight, these next three games against the Cubs become that much more important.  Kevin Correia will look to have a good outing at home tomorrow, while Randy Wells will look to give the Cubbies their third win in a row.

Record vs. Cubs:  6-4
Record vs. N.L. Central:  25-17
Record at Home:  26-26
Overall Record:  54-53

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!!!