Chicago at Pittsburgh

Chi. Cubs
W: Z. Duke (1-1) L: J. Williams (0-1)
S: M. Gonzalez (2)
HR: CHC - None   PIT - None

Pirates 2, Cubs 1

CBS wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- For all the talk about mechanical adjustments, arm slots, pitch location and selection, it turned out Zach Duke needed to do only one thing to again be the pitcher he was last season.

Throw strikes.

Duke bounced back from the worst start of his short major league career to limit Chicago to a run over seven innings, and the Pirates beat the Cubs in Pittsburgh for the first time in exactly a year by winning 2-1 Saturday night.

"Basically, he pitched his game," said manager Jim Tracy, who started his news conference by joking he would answer no more questions about the perceived mechanical makeover of Duke. "There was too much made of that. In his previous start, he tried to be a different pitcher other than what he is -- a pitcher who throws strikes with his sinker, pounds the strike zone and throws early count strikes."

Duke (1-1) allowed seven runs in five innings in an 8-3 loss Monday to the Dodgers, a performance that mirrored a mostly poor spring training. The 22-year-old left-hander was fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last year after going 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA.

Against the Cubs, Duke again was the pitcher who twice beat the Cubs and 300-game winner Greg Maddux following his midseason recall last season. He allowed three hits over six shutout innings before Aramis Ramirez doubled and scored on Matt Murton's two-out single in the seventh.

"I went back to my game plan," Duke said. "I hadn't been myself out there. It was nice to get back to being me on the mound. I was rushing through everything against LA, but I was able to stay back tonight and was consistent."

Duke threw 104 pitches, 71 for strikes, walking one and striking out five. He was uncharacteristically wild against the Dodgers, throwing 48 of 94 pitches for strikes.

Duke is the first Pirates starter to last longer than six innings.

"With the exception of a couple of hitters, he's ahead of everybody," Tracy said. "I can think of two pitches he threw that didn't go precisely where he wanted them to go. That's pretty special."

The Pirates ended an eight-game home losing streak to Chicago that dated to April 15, 2005. The Cubs had won 12 of 13 overall from Pittsburgh since then. Duke's excellent outing also helped the Pirates avoid their first 3-10 start since the lockout-shortened 1995 season.

Craig A. Wilson, now the Pirates' everyday first baseman with Sean Casey out for up to two months with a back injury, tripled and scored both runs against Jerome Williams (0-1). Wilson also made an excellent defensive play on the final batter Duke faced, controlling Todd Walker's high-bouncing grounder with two on base and flipping it to Duke to get out of a jam in the seventh.

"Duke was masterful," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "That's what beat us. It looked like Duke was fading some, we had some action, but we couldn't get that big hit."

Chicago also threatened against Roberto Hernandez in the eighth when Jerry Hairston Jr. singled and Derrek Lee walked. Hernandez, who is unscored upon in seven appearances, got Ramirez on a short fly ball and struck out Michael Barrett.

Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in two opportunities, throwing only four pitches to give Duke his first victory since beating Milwaukee in the Pirates' last game in 2005.

Williams was effective in his first start this season, and his first in Pittsburgh since beating the Pirates 2-0 with 7 1/3 shutout innings on Sept. 4. He gave up four hits and one earned run over six innings.

"I feel real confident out there," Williams said. "Everything was working, my offspeed pitches, my slider, sinker, just having everything in that zone makes the batter feel off a little bit."

The Pirates got their first run against Williams in the second when Wilson walked, stole second and scored on shortstop Ronny Cedeno's two-out throwing error on Humberto Cota 's grounder. Wilson tripled off the right-field wall to start the Pirates' sixth and scored on Joe Randa's sacrifice fly.


  • Cubs OF Angel Pagan apparently injured a hamstring while running out a grounder in the fifth. He will return to Chicago on Sunday to be examined by team doctors.
  • Gonzalez has thrown only nine pitches in getting his two saves.
  • Murton had his third consecutive multihit game.
  • Duke has an 0.78 ERA in his three starts against the Cubs.
  • Casey sustained two fractures in his lower back while fielding a throw Friday night.
  • The Pirates' Jason Bay went 0-for-0 despite batting four times. He walked three times and was hit by a pitch.
Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game

C. Wilson
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 0

M. Murton
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4000010 .214
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B4010010 .333
Derrek Lee, 1B3010100 .367
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4110013 .167
Michael Barrett, C4000013 .324
Angel Pagan, RF2010000 .263
    Freddie Bynum, RF1000011 .000
   a- Neifi Perez, PH1000000 .250
Matt Murton, LF3021100 .342
Ronny Cedeno, SS4010002 .351
Jerome Williams, P2000011 .000
   b- Todd Walker, PH1000002 .462
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Bynum in the 9th
b-grounded out for Williams in the 7th
2B - Aramis Ramirez (1, Duke), Matt Murton (2, Duke)
RBI - Matt Murton (9)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Murton (5)
CS - Angel Pagan (1, 2nd base by Duke/Cota)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Cedeno-Hairston-Lee, Ramirez-Lee, Lee
E - Ronny Cedeno (3, throwing error), Jerome Williams (1, throwing error)
Chicago Cubs
Jerome Williams (L,0-1) 6421430 2.45
Scott Eyre 2000210 0.00
HBP - Bay (by Jerome Williams)
Pitches-Strikes - Jerome Williams 95-57, Scott Eyre 32-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jerome Williams 7-7, Scott Eyre 1-2
Batters Faced - Jerome Williams 26, Scott Eyre 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF3000100 .178
Jack Wilson, SS4000001 .341
Jason Bay, LF0000300 .341
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4010002 .260
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Craig Wilson, 1B3210122 .345
Joe Randa, 3B2011011 .243
Jose Castillo, 2B2010101 .318
Humberto Cota, C3000001 .172
Zach Duke, P2000012 .200
   a- Freddy Sanchez, PH1000000 .417
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Roberto Hernandez, P0000000 .000
    Nate McLouth, RF0000000 .250
a-grounded out for Duke in the 7th
2B - Joe Randa (3, Williams)
3B - Craig Wilson (1, Williams)
SF - Joe Randa (1)
RBI - Joe Randa (4)
SB - Craig Wilson (1, 2nd base off Williams/Barrett)
CS - Jose Castillo (1, 2nd base by Williams/Barrett)
Team LOB - 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (W,1-1) 7611150 4.50
John Grabow (H,1) 0.1000000 6.43
Roberto Hernandez (H,3) 0.2100110 0.00
Mike Gonzalez (S,2) 1000000 3.60
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 104-71, John Grabow 4-3, Roberto Hernandez 16-8, Mike Gonzalez 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 11-4, John Grabow 1-0
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 27, John Grabow 1, Roberto Hernandez 4, Mike Gonzalez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 34264
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Marty Foster