|Chi. Cubs «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||3||6||1|
PITTSBURGH -- A one-run lead in the ninth, Jose Mesa on the mound. For two days in a row, the very situation the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted proved to be exactly what the Chicago Cubs needed to get their bats going.
Jose Macias' sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run, and the Cubs rallied with two runs in the ninth against Mesa for the second time in less than 20 hours, ruining Kip Wells' solid start and beating the Pirates 3-2 Wednesday.
"That was a big victory for us -- a couple of weeks ago we were losing those games," said manager Dusty Baker, whose Cubs came into the series 6-9 in one-run games. "That was a good two days here, especially beating Mesa two days in a row. That doesn't happen."
The Pirates had won 40 consecutive games when leading after eight innings, and Mesa had converted 23 successive save opportunities, until the Cubs won 4-3 Tuesday night on Derrek Lee's two-run homer in the ninth.
After that loss, perhaps the Pirates' toughest all season, outfielder Jason Bay said he would gladly take the same situation again Wednesday. That's precisely what happened -- and, again, the Cubs rallied to win.
"What are you going to do?" Mesa said. "I blew another one."
Jeromy Burnitz drew a walk from Mesa (0-3) to start the ninth, only to be thrown out easily at second as the Pirates pitched out in anticipation of a possible hit-and-run, which Baker confirmed he called.
Michael Barrett doubled but, after manager Lloyd McClendon ordered Corey Patterson intentionally walked even though he represented the tying run, pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth singled off first baseman Daryle Ward's glove to score Barrett with the tying run.
It was Hollandsworth's first hit in seven career at-bats against Mesa and his first in seven pinch-hit at-bats this season.
"That was big," Baker said.
Macias' sacrifice fly then scored Patterson. Macias was playing only because third baseman Aramis Ramirez didn't start because his stiff lower back flared up again.
The night before, McClendon decided not to walk Lee in the ninth and put the potential tying run on base, and Lee responded with his second homer of the game. This time, McClendon chose to issue the intentional walk.
"The dynamics of this game were much different," McClendon said. "We had a guy (Hollandsworth) struggling, who was 0-for-6 against Mesa. But we didn't make pitches, didn't execute and we lost the game. ... We had the opportunity to sweep the series and we ended up getting swept."
Michael Wuertz (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory. Ryan Dempster, the Cubs' latest closer, pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for his second save in two days by getting Jack Wilson -- who was 3-for-3 -- to ground into a double play.
"Neifi (Perez, the shortstop) came out to me and said, 'Make 'em hit it to me,' and the next pitch, he hit it right to him," Dempster said.
Wells limited the Cubs to one run and four hits over eight innings, the sixth successive start in which he has allowed three earned runs or fewer. But the Pirates were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and couldn't build on their 2-0 lead in the second against Glendon Rusch, who walked six.
Ward and Matt Lawton each had a sacrifice fly off Rusch, who avoided his eighth loss in nine career decisions against Pittsburgh by stranding seven runners in six innings.
Lee, who came into the game leading the NL in homers (12) and RBI (37), had a quiet afternoon against Wells, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double-play grounder. Lee is 2-of-18 against Wells.
Wells didn't allow a runner to third base or face a major jam until the eighth, when pinch-hitter Ben Grieve walked and Jerry Hairston singled and stole second with one out. Pinch-runner Mike Fontenot scored on Perez's sacrifice fly to center, but Lee lined out softly to first.
|Cubs closer Ryan Dempster cheers catcher Henry Blanco after pitching out of a bases-loaded jam. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.262|
|Neifi Perez, SS||2||0||1||1||1||0||1||.282|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.362|
|Jeromy Burnitz, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.287|
|Michael Barrett, C||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.278|
|Henry Blanco, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Corey Patterson, CF||3||1||0||0||1||1||1||.253|
|Jason Dubois, LF||2||0||0||0||1||2||0||.250|
|a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH-LF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.211|
|Jose Macias, 3B||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.262|
|Glendon Rusch, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.286|
|LaTroy Hawkins, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ben Grieve, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.273|
|Mike Fontenot, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Cliff Bartosh, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Michael Wuertz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Aramis Ramirez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.248|
|Ryan Dempster, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
|a-singled for Dubois in the 9th|
|b-walked for Hawkins in the 8th|
|c-struck out for Wuertz in the 9th|
|2B - Neifi Perez (5, Wells), Michael Barrett (6, Mesa)|
|SF - Neifi Perez (1), Jose Macias (1)|
|RBI - Neifi Perez (15), Todd Hollandsworth (8), Jose Macias (3)|
|SB - Jerry Hairston Jr. (4, 2nd base off Wells/Cota)|
|CS - Jeromy Burnitz (2, 2nd base by Mesa/Cota)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Perez-Hairston-Lee, Perez-Hairston-Lee, Wuertz-Perez-Lee, Perez-Hairston-Lee|
|E - Jerry Hairston Jr. (4, misplayed grounder)|
|Michael Wuertz (W,2-1)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.54|
|Ryan Dempster (S,2)||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||5.35|
|IBB - Cota by Glendon Rusch|
|Pitches-Strikes - Glendon Rusch 99-59, LaTroy Hawkins 7-5, Cliff Bartosh 1-1, Michael Wuertz 7-6, Ryan Dempster 13-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glendon Rusch 5-5, LaTroy Hawkins 1-1, Michael Wuertz 1-0, Ryan Dempster 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Glendon Rusch 27, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Cliff Bartosh 1, Michael Wuertz 2, Ryan Dempster 5|
|Matt Lawton, RF||3||0||0||1||1||0||0||.260|
|Jack Wilson, SS||4||1||3||0||1||0||1||.185|
|Jason Bay, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||5||.293|
|Daryle Ward, 1B||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.283|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.315|
|Ty Wigginton, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||2||0||.185|
|Michael Restovich, LF||3||0||2||0||0||1||0||.306|
|a- Tike Redman, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.164|
|Humberto Cota, C||1||0||0||0||2||1||0||.220|
|b- Rob Mackowiak, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.317|
|Kip Wells, P||3||0||0||0||0||2||5||.211|
|Jose Mesa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Freddy Sanchez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.242|
|a-doubled for Restovich in the 9th|
|b-walked for Cota in the 9th|
|c-hit into fielder's choice for Mesa in the 9th|
|2B - Michael Restovich (3, Rusch), Tike Redman (1, Dempster)|
|3B - Jack Wilson (2, Rusch)|
|SF - Matt Lawton (2), Daryle Ward (2)|
|RBI - Matt Lawton (15), Daryle Ward (20)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - J. Wilson-Castillo-Ward, Wells-J. Wilson-Ward|
|Jose Mesa (BS,2; L,0-3)||1||2||2||2||2||1||0||4.50|
|IBB - Patterson by Jose Mesa|
|HBP - Hairston (by Kip Wells)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kip Wells 112-66, Jose Mesa 26-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kip Wells 7-9|
|Batters Faced - Kip Wells 30, Jose Mesa 6|
|Attendance - 21142|
|Game Time - 2:37|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Bruce Froemming, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Jerry Meals|