PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Newly acquired first baseman Derrek Lee homered twice in his Pirates debut Monday night, but the rest of the lineup remained silent as Pittsburgh dropped its fourth in a row against Chicago, 5-3.
Lee hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning to tie the game, 1-1, and a two-run shot to center in the eighth to close to within one, 4-3, but a Cubs three-run rally in the sixth gave them just enough to edge the Pirates.
“It was sickening is what it was — weird has got nothing to do with it,” Chicago manager Mike Quade said of facing Lee, a former member of the Cubs. “We’ve all watched him long enough and have so much respect for him, we know he’s capable of that. Just wish he’d save that stuff for someone else.”
“It was nice to get some hits and contribute,” Lee said. “Unfortunately they got the win so we turn the page and get ready to go tomorrow.”
Cubs catcher Geovany Soto doubled to left to score Starlin Castro, and Alfonso Soriano grounded out into a fielder’s choice that scored Jeff Baker to give Chicago a 3-1 lead. Carlos Pena followed with a sacrifice fly to left for a 4-1 advantage after six innings.
After Lee’s second homer of the night closed the gap with one inning to play, Cubs center fielder Reed Johnson hit an RBI double to left for some extra breathing room. Pittsburgh was unable to score in the ninth, falling in order to end the game.
“It’s like when you’re on an airplane and the captain says, ‘Buckle your seatbelt, we’re going to hit some turbulence,’” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “We’ve hit some turbulence. That’s all it is. No one said it would be easy.”
Pirates starter Paul Maholm went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits. Carlos Zambrano got the win for Chicago, allowing seven hits and one run in six innings.
“We’ve just got to get over it and come back tomorrow and do what we’ve been doing all year, grinding it out for nine innings and winning,” Maholm said.
Chris Gates | Bucs Blog