Cubs Take Opener From Pirates

Zambrano solid in victory for Cubs.

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Cubs Hang On To Beat Pirates 5-3

When the Pirates were bad the Cubs struggled mightily against them. Now that the Pirates are in the playoff race, the Cubs actually are playing better against their foes from Pittsburgh as they held on to win the series opener 5-3.

The Cubs (44-65) got the scoring started when Jeff Baker hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning. The lead wouldn’t last long after Derrek Lee tied things in the fourth with a solo homerun. The Cubs would take a three-run lead in the sixth to go up 4-1, but Derrek Lee continued his fantastic debut with the Pirates (54-53) and closed the lead to 4-3 with his second homerun of the game. That would be as close as the pirates would get though and the Cubs scored once more in the ninth and held on for the victory.

Carlos Zambrano continued his success against Pittsburgh Monday. Zambrano went six innings and gave up just one run on seven hits. Big Z improved to 8-6 on the season. Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 21st save of the season.

Paul Maholm took the loss for Pittsburgh in the series opener. Maholm allowed four runs on six hits in his six innings of work. The Pirates lefty fell to 6-11 on the season.

The Cubs will try to win their third game in a row when they face Pittsburgh again on Tuesday evening.

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Cubs Continue Awful Roadtrip With Stop In Pittsburgh

It's no secret that the Cubs have had their struggles against the Pittsburgh Pirates. A team that hasn't had a winning record since 1992, seems to have no problems when they face the Cubs. An interesting sub-plot to the series is the Cubs will get to face former teammate Derrek Lee. Lee was acquired from Baltimore prior to the trade deadline. Pittsburgh, for the first time in many years, was actually a buyer at the trade deadline and added Lee and Ryan Ludwick to help improve the offense. Now the Cubs just need to figure out how to beat the Buc's.

Carlos Zambrano will take the ball in game one of the series with Pittsburgh. Zambrano comes in with a 7-6 record and an ERA of 4.59. In his last outing against Pittsburgh, the Cubs righty earned a no decision allowing three runs in six innings of work.

Paul Maholm will get the start for Pittsburgh Monday evening. Maholm is having a much better record than his record would indicate. The Pirates lefty comes in with a 6-10 record but has an excellent ERA of just 3.16. Against the Cubs this season, Maholm is 2-0 in three starts with an ERA of 0.39.

The weather forecast in Pittsburgh at the time of first pitch is temps in the upper 80's with a slight chance for a thunderstorm. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 CST. The game will be televised on CSN plus.

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