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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pirates Beat Cubs 6-1          Send a link to a friend

[September 08, 2007]  PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Tom Gorzelanny allowed one run over seven effective innings and Jack Wilson homered while driving in three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Chicago 6-1 Friday night, the slumping Cubs' fourth loss in five games.

Gorzelanny (14-7) has been tough on the Cubs before, allowing two earned run in 22 innings over three career starts, a 0.82 ERA. But this one especially hurt the Cubs, who couldn't bounce back from a 7-4 loss Thursday to Los Angeles in which the Dodgers scored four runs in the ninth inning against closer Ryan Dempster.

Chicago, beginning a closing stretch in which it plays 16 of the final 23 away from Wrigley Field, began the night tied with Milwaukee for the NL Central lead and a game up on St. Louis. The Brewers played in Cincinnati and the Cardinals were at Arizona.

The Cubs started the road trip as the only division team with a winning record on the road, 33-32, but couldn't do much with Gorzelanny as the left-hander limited them to six hits, striking out three and walking two. The Cubs didn't score until they were down 6-0 in the seventh, when Geovany Soto doubled and scored on pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno's RBI single.

Gorzelanny kept up a strong run of late-season pitching by winning for the fifth time in six decisions. His 14 victories are the most by a Pittsburgh left-hander since Denny Neagle was 14-6 in 1996.

No doubt former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield wishes he had seen more of this before being fired Friday morning following six-plus seasons: excellent starting pitching and timely hitting, with Pittsburgh opening a 3-0 lead by the second inning.

Nyjer Morgan, a September callup, started the game with a double off Rich Hill (8-8) and scored a batter later on Freddy Sanchez's sacrifice fly. Steve Pearce, another prospect playing in Pittsburgh for the first time, singled and moved to second on second baseman Mark DeRosa's throwing error an inning later ahead of Ronny Paulino's RBI single and Wilson's run-scoring double.

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Wilson followed Paulino's walk in the sixth with his ninth homer, a drive into the left-field bleachers. Wilson went 3-for-4 and has 14 hits in 20 at-bats (.700) over four games.

Chicago threatened in the eighth by loading the bases against relievers Shawn Chacon and Damaso Marte. But Marte got Soto on a fly ball for the final out after Soto barely missed a grand slam on a long drive that strayed a few feet wide of the left-field foul pole.

The Cubs had won Hill's last four starts, but the left-hander was lifted after giving up six runs and nine hits over six innings.

Notes:@ Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-5 after homering twice Thursday for Chicago. He was 9-for-21 in his previous five games. ... Former Pirates C Jason Kendall, now with the Cubs, played in PNC Park for the first time since being dealt to Oakland in 2004. Kendall didn't start, but singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth to load the bases. ... Pirates RF Xavier Nady, hit in the head with a pitch Monday in St. Louis, was scratched from the lineup about 40 minutes before game time. ... The Pirates (62-79) remained three losses away from a 15th consecutive losing season. ... The Cubs have lost six of 10 to the last-place Pirates.

[Associated Press; By ALAN ROBINSON]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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