The Cubs finally earned their first victory of the season on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley. Though they dug themselves into a hole early, just enough timely hitting and good base running allowed them to come back in one burst in the eighth inning to win the game against the Pirates, 5-3.
Carlos Zambrano started for the Cubs and delivered a slightly shaky outing that ended in the seventh inning when he left due to cramping. Zambrano’s troubles began early in the first when two walks turned into a run on a single by Pittsburgh’s third baseman Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates would score again in the third and the seventh, thanks to a Neil Walker double and a Garrett Jones solo home run.
For most of the game, the Cubs simply couldn’t get an offense going, leaving runners on base when it counted and striking out in key situations. That changed in large part thanks to the awful day of the Pirates’ bullpen. Relievers Evan Meek and Chris Resop allowed the Cubs to blow the game wide open.
The inning started and ended with Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored on a Starlin Castro double. An error by Lyle Overbay on a Marlon Byrd infield hit would send Castro all the way to home. Two outs and a Geovany Soto single later and Alfonso Soriano came through with a single to right. Resop came in to try to stop the bleeding but only succeeded in giving up a walk and a hit to put the Cubs ahead by two.
The Cubs own bullpen was stellar as Carlos Marmol closed out the game in the top of the ninth. Sean Marshall, who had pitched a scoreless eighth inning, ended up with the win. The Cubs and Pirates next play on Sunday afternoon at 1:20 P.M. CDT.