CHICAGO (KDKA/AP) — An eighth inning rally by the Chicago Cubs sunk the Pirates 5-3 at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon for their first loss of the season.
Pirates starter Paul Maholm pitched 6 2-3 shutout innings, giving up five hits, before the Cubs got to the Pirates’ bullpen. Garrett Jones hit a home run in the seventh inning.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, who threw 99 pitches, gave up five hits and three runs in his six innings plus.
Zambrano walked two in the top of the first before Pedro Alvarez pulled a two-out RBI single to right to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
Neil Walker had an RBI double in the third after Jose Tabata reached on an infield single. On Friday, it was Walker that came through for the Pirates when he hit a grand slam in their 6-3 season-opening win over the Cubs.
After Andrew McCutchen walked to put runners at first and second with no outs, Zambrano averted a big inning. He struck out first baseman Lyle Overbay and then raced to cover first and complete a double play that was started by first baseman Carlos Pena on Alvarez’s broken-bat grounder.
Maholm retired the first eight batters before Zambrano drove a double.
Zambrano left the game in the seventh with cramping in his right hand, one batter after he’d given up a leadoff homer to Jones that gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The Cubs finally broke through as reliever Evan Meek (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome and threw a wild pitch before Starlin Castro hit an RBI double to make it 3-1. Overbay then misplayed Marlon Byrd’s grounder for an error as Castro scored to make it 3-2.
Geovany Soto had a one-out single and Alfonso Soriano singled to right-center on a 1-2 pitch to tie it at 3.
Chris Resop relieved and walked Tyler Colvin to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt then delivered a two-out, two-run double to left as Wrigley Field erupted, capping the five-run eighth inning.
Sean Marshall (1-0) got the victory with a scoreless eighth and Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his first save.
The Pirates face the Cubs again Sunday at 2:20 p.m. before heading to St. Louis.