PITTSBURGH - JULY 10: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a three run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the third inning during the game on July 10, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

McCutchen, Pirates Crush Cubs In Series Finale

Paul Maholm holds Cubs to just four hits as Pirates win series

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Pirates Score Early And Often In Series Finale

The Cubs on Sunday had the look of a kid on the last day of school. You know a vacation is coming and all you want to do is go through the motions so the day will end as soon as possible. With the all-star break upon us, the Cubs looked like a team eager to take a few days off.

The Pirates (47-43) offense erupted for nine runs in Sunday’s finale to take the series two games to one. Andrew McCutchen was the offensive star for the Pirates. The all-star center fielder homered and drove in five of the team’s nine runs. Pittsburgh will now enter the break with their best record since 1992.

Ramon Ortiz struggled all day for the Cubs (37-55). In his second start for Chicago, Ortiz gave up six runs on seven hits in four innings of work. The Cubs righty dropped to 0-2 on the season.

Offensively the Cubs couldn’t do anything Sunday. The team managed just four hits led by Darwin Barney who had two of them.

Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm was part of the reason the Cubs struggled offensively. Maholm continued his domination of the Cubs going seven and two-thirds innings allowing one run on just four hits. The Pirates lefty improved to 6-9 on the season.

The Cubs now will get a few days off for the all-star break. The team will next play Thursday evening against the Florida Marlins.


Cubs Go For Series Win In Series Finale

Yes it is only July, but the Chicago Cubs are pretty much already in the position to play spoiler. Blame it on injuries or poor play, but this team is already playing for the future. A victory Sunday would give the Cubs a series win over the surprising Pirates and would lead them in to the all-star break on a positive note. Things haven't been very positive for the Cubs over the first half as they enter Sunday's game with the second-worst record in all of baseball.

Ramon Ortiz will make his second start for the Cubs on Sunday. Ortiz lost his first start Tuesday to the Washington Nationals. After a shaky first inning in which he allowed three runs, two earned, the veteran righty settled down to go six innings and allowed just the two earned runs on seven hits. Sunday will be the first start Ortiz will make against the Pirates since 2006.

The Pirates will counter with Paul Maholm. Maholm is having a much better season than his record indicates. Although the Pirates lefty is only 5-8 on the season, his ERA is just 3.08. In his career, Maholm is 8-2 against the Cubs with an ERA of 5.30 in 15 appearances.

The forecast in Pittsburgh at the time of first pitch is temps in the upper 80's under sunny skies. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 CST. The game can be seen on WGN. 

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