"Pitch around McCutchen and let him take first base," the Chicago
Cubs ace pitcher said.
The hot-hitting center fielder had a pair of doubles and Edinson
Volquez combined with two relievers on a seven-hit shutout as the
Pirates beat the Cubs 4-0 on Thursday night in a game delayed twice
McCutchen continued his torrid June by going 2-for-4 to stretch his
hitting streak to eight games. McCutchen is batting .429 in 11 games
this month with nine doubles, six home runs and 14 RBIs.
McCutchen doubled and scored the game's first run during a two-run
fourth inning then hit a two-run double in the fifth to make it 4-0.
"No. 22 is McHot right now," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
Volquez (4-5) scattered seven hits while walking two and striking
out five. He improved his career to 7-0 against the Cubs, who were
hitless with eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Left-hander Tony Watson and right-hander Jared Hughes finished with
one scoreless inning each.
"I think you have to tip your hat to Volquez," Cubs manager Rick
Renteria said. "Today was one of his better starts. He was
commanding the zone like he does when he is in a good place and we
were on the other side of it."
Volquez said he feels he needs to shoulder more of the load in the
Pirates' starting rotation with left-hander Francisco Lirinao and
right-hander Gerrit Cole on the disabled list. That is why he was so
happy with his performance Thursday.
"I think I did what I was supposed to do, go over there and compete
with Samardzija," Volquez said. "He's one of the best guys in the
National League. It was a good performance."
Rain delayed the start of the game for 21 minutes and halted play in
the eighth inning for one hour, 14 minutes.
The Pirates beat Chicago for the 11th time in the teams' last 14
meetings at PNC Park by winning three games in the four-game series.
The Cubs fell to 11-23 in road games, the worst mark in the major
leagues, and have lost 14 of their last 20 away from home. They have
not won a road series all season.
Samardzija (2-6) entered the game with a 0.69 ERA in five career
starts in Pittsburgh but took the loss as he allowed four runs and
nine hits in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was
just the fourth time in 14 outings this season in which he did
record a quality start.
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In his last six starts against the Pirates, Samardzija is 0-4 but
the Cubs have scored a combined five runs in those games.
"I thought I had pretty good stuff," Samardzija said. "I just felt
like they jumped on my mistakes, to tell you the truth."
Third baseman Luis Valbuena and second baseman Darwin Barney had two
hits each for the Cubs. Valbuena is 13-for-28 (.464) with five
doubles in his last nine games.
NOTES: The Pirates selected the contract of INF Michael Martinez
from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned RHP Casey Sadler to the same
club. The Pirates wanted to add a middle infielder because 2B Josh
Harrison was unable to start after suffering a mildly sprained right
ankle Wednesday. ... The Cubs signed veteran C Yorvit Torrealba to a
minor league contract, and he will report to their extended spring
training camp in Mesa, Ariz. Torrealba went to spring training with
the Los Angeles Angels as a non-roster player but asked for his
release when he did not make the major league club. ... Pittsburgh
RHP Gerrit Cole threw 20 pitches off the bullpen mound Thursday as
he continues to rebuild arm strength after going on the disabled
list, retroactive to June 4, with right shoulder fatigue. ...
Pirates 2B Neil Walker returned to the team three days after
undergoing an appendectomy and is optimistic he will be able to
return June 24, the first day he is eligible to come off the
disabled list. ... Chicago opens a three-game series Friday night at
Philadelphia with RHP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.50 ERA) facing RHP
Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 4.35). ... The Pirates travel to Miami for a
three-game series with the Marlins that begins Friday night with LHP
Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.11) facing RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.27).
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