Pittsburgh at Chicago

Venue: Wrigley Field
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The Chicago Cubs have captured five straight home series after taking one against an NL contender to open this six-game homestand.

They'll welcome another one of the league's top teams to Wrigley Field on Monday night in the start of a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chicago (42-58) improved to an NL-best 12-3 at home since June 25 after winning the final two games of a weekend series against St. Louis. Anthony Rizzo hit his first career walk-off homer with a two-run shot in the 10th inning in Sunday's 4-2 victory.

"This is something I've always dreamed of doing since I was a little kid," said Rizzo, who is 7 for 15 with three homers and seven RBIs over his last four contests. "I've never done it before - not in the minors, not in Little League, not ever. This is awesome."

These teams are meeting again after the Cubs outscored Pittsburgh 9-4 in taking two of three at PNC Park last week.

The Pirates' Erik Bedard (5-11, 4.32 ERA) was a hard-luck loser in a 2-0 defeat in the opener of that series. He struck out 11 and allowed one run and two hits over seven innings.

"It was fun to watch him go to work, too, with the fastball-curveball-changeup combination," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Bedard has not pitched since that outing because the Pirates (58-43) inserted the newly acquired Wandy Rodriguez into their rotation Saturday in Houston. Bedard, who has never pitched at Wrigley Field, has yielded one run and four hits over 13 innings against Chicago this year.

Pittsburgh's lineup will be boosted Monday with the return of Andrew McCutchen, who leads the majors with a .368 average. The star center fielder did not start Sunday's 9-5 defeat at Houston since Hurdle wanted to rest him.

McCutchen popped out as a pinch-hitter and went 4 for 12 in the four-game series. He's 6 for 18 against the Cubs this year to lead the Pirates.

The Pirates' four-game win streak ended Sunday. They continue to lead the wild-card race, but fell three games behind NL Central leader Cincinnati.

Garrett Jones homered, extending the club's streak with at least one to a team-record 19 straight road games. The Pirates lead the majors with 72 road homers.

Pittsburgh took two of three in all three visits to Wrigley last year, homering nine times as McCutchen and Neil Walker each went deep twice.

The only Pirates hitter with more than one at-bat against right-hander Justin Germano (0-1, 3.00) is shortstop Clint Barmes, who is 2 for 4. Germano will pitch Monday for Chicago in his first start since Oct. 3, 2010, with Cleveland.

"He's crafty," manager Dale Sveum told the Cubs' official website. "He's not going to light up a radar gun, but he's got great arm speed on all his offspeed pitches and can change speeds on a slow curveball - anywhere from 68-75, 78 mph curveball, changeup.

"He sinks the ball, keeps the ball down. He's kind of crafty as much as anything but has command of four pitches."

Germano's lone previous appearance for Chicago came July 21 when he allowed one run over three innings at St. Louis.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Erik Bedard, LHP
2012 stats
100.0 Innings Pitched 8.2
5-11 Wins-Losses 0-1
4.32 Earned Run Average 1.04
45 Walks 2
93 Strikeouts 8
89 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
13.0 Innings Pitched -
1-1 Wins-Losses ---
0.69 Earned Run Average -

Justin Germano, RHP
Weather
weather image  Scattered tstorms late. More clouds than sun. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
87°F69°F8mph/S61%52%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central8874.54326-4 L 2
Chi Cubs5th NL Central7389.451175-5 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Justin Germano
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Barmes42000.500
Burnett000000
Correia000000
Grilli000000
Hanrahan000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Erik Bedard
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Soriano116131.545
Valbuena31001.333
Soto31001.333
Johnson337038.212
Mather61003.167
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Pittsburgh -135 Chi. Cubs 125
Injuries
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
P. AlvarezFoot
C. MortonHernia
C. StewartWrist
Chi Cubs
PlayerInjury
S. CastroAnkle
J. McDonaldShoulder
J. RuggianoAnkle
R. SweeneyHamstring
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 5CHC 8:05 PM EDT  
Apr 7CHC 8:05 PM EDT  
Apr 8CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
May 4STL 8:15 PM EDT  
May 5STL 8:15 PM EDT  
May 6STL 8:15 PM EDT  
May 7STL 1:45 PM EDT  
Jun 26STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Jun 27STL 7:15 PM EDT  
Jun 28STL 2:15 PM EDT  
Jul 6CHC 8:05 PM EDT  
Jul 7CHC 8:05 PM EDT  
Jul 8CHC 8:05 PM EDT  
Sep 7STL 2:15 PM EDT  
Sep 8STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 9STL 1:45 PM EDT  
Sep 18CHC 2:20 PM EDT  
Sep 19CHC   
Sep 20CHC