McCutchen, Maholm Lead Pirates to 9-1 Blowout Victory Over Cubs

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Pirates entered the final game before the All-Star break this afternoon against the Cubs with a chance to end the day in a three-way tie for the first place.  Considering the expectations for the team by “experts” and fans alike, the Buccos are arguably the best story in Major League Baseball.
After a difficult loss last night, the Pirates and Cubs took the field this afternoon in front of a huge crowd at PNC Park in the rubber match of the series.  Paul Maholm threw 7.2 tough innings and Andrew McCutchen had 5 RBI’s as the Pirates beat the Cubs, 9-1, taking the series and completing a 4-2 home stand.
McCutchen, who was named to the N.L. All-Star team last night, had quite the game this afternoon, blasting a three-run HR deep center in the third inning, scoring Alex Presley and Neil Walker.  Cutch added sacrifices in the first and fifth to add to the Pirates’ lead. 
As for Maholm, who entered the game with a deceiving 5-9 record, pitched over seven innings of shutdown baseball.  In fact, Paul gave up just one run on four hits, lowering his ERA to a very impressive 2.96.  He picked up his sixth victory of the season, along with some minor help from Chris Resop and Jose Veras.
While Cutch certainly led the charge this afternoon, a number of Buccos contributed on the offensive end, teaming up for nine hits on the day.  Walker went 3-4, including a triple and two doubles, scoring twice and driving in a run.  Real Deal Neil’s average has now climbed to .264, and enters the All-Star break riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Presley added two hits to his stat sheet for his limited season.  “Big Al” now has seven multi-hit games in his 13 starts this year.
Garrett Jones also got into the fun with a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run double in the 9th inning, scoring Lyle Overbay and Brandon Wood.  Overbay, despite his recent struggles at first base, did add a single for Pittsburgh in the eighth inning.
This was a tremendous response by the Pirates today against the Cubs.  After a rather disappointing loss last night, in which they certainly had some opportunities to put more runs up on the board, the offense came out strong this afternoon, led by their stars, Walker and McCutchen.  One of the important things we wanted to do this weekend was carry some momentum into the break, and, after the performance this afternoon, there’s no doubt that Bucco-fever will be running on high when the club resumes play next weekend.
In other news, Kevin Correia has been named to the N.L. All Star team due to the unavailability of Phillies’ pitcher Cole Hamels.  Correia is 11-7 this year with a 4.01 ERA.  Kevin joins McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan as the All-Star representatives for the Pirates.  This marks the first time since 1990 that three Pirates have been named to the All-Star game.
The Pirates now enter the All-Star break with a 47-43 record.  They are the third N.L. team in the history of MLB with a winning record at the break following a 100+ loss season the year before.  The Buccos will enjoy four days off before opening up a three-game series with the Astros in Houston to resume the 2011 season.
Record Vs. Cubs: 6-3
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 20-12
Home Record: 23-22
Overall Record: 47-43
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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