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.