PITTSBURGH — The run support finally came for Paul Maholm — in loads.
The Pirates smacked four home runs off Chicago pitching Saturday afternoon and Maholm allowed just three hits to cruise to a complete-game shut-out win, 10-0.
“You go out there and you do everything you can to make sure the team has a chance. And I think I’ve done that,” Maholm said. “And today the guys broke out and scored a bunch of runs and made it easier on me. And going out there, every pitch wasn’t a nail-biter.”
The onslaught began in the fourth inning after Maholm pitched three straight no-hit innings. Steve Pearce singled to center with two men on and one out, scoring two for a 2-0 lead.
After Chris Snyder walked, Ronny Cedeno homered to right center for a 4-0 Pirates’ advantage.
Maholm remained perfect through the fourth, but gave up two hits in the fifth to break up his perfect game — the only two Cubs hits of the game until the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates bats rewarded him again in the sixth, as Lyle Overbay and Snyder each hit solo shots.
“All (Maholm) can control is his job off the mound, and he’s really embraced that,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He can’t control run support. He can’t control a lot of other things. But he can control how he pitches. And that’s what he’s locked down on.”
Andrew McCutchen added a two-run homer in the seventh inning for a commanding 9-0 Pittsburgh lead.
Garrett Jones doubled home a 10th run in the top of the ninth. Maholm allowed an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but got Starlin Castro to pop out to end the game.
“The main thing is that no matter where you pitch, if you execute your pitches and mix speeds it makes it a lot easier,” he said.
“That last inning my goal was to try to get it under 90 pitches, but I’ll take the 92 or whatever it is. It was just something to say you’ve done. With the run support, it was mainly just go out there, attack hitters and let the guys do their job on defense.”
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog