Pittsburgh at Chicago

Chi. Cubs
W: M. Prior (1-5) L: Z. Duke (7-10)
S: R. Dempster (21)
HR: PIT - R. Paulino (5), N. McLouth (6)   CHC - M. Murton (6), A. Pagan (4)

Prior grabs first win of season, Cubs hold off Pirates

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- If Mark Prior had an ounce of uncertainty about his ability to win games, Cubs manager Dusty Baker is hoping its gone now.

Prior won his first game of the year, allowing two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, and the Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Making the eighth start of another season shortened by injuries, Prior (1-5) struck out five while giving up five hits and three walks and hitting a batter. The right-hander won for the first time since Sept. 10, 2005 at San Francisco.

"You get that victory, that's a huge step. I'm sure his confidence is better. Not to say it wasn't before, but certainly guys can hide and mask things, but he's used to winning and when you are not winning it has to affect you some kind of way. So I'm hoping his first win is the first of many to come," Baker said.

Prior began the season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, came off it June 18 and went 0-4 in four starts. He went back on the DL on July 9 with a strained left oblique muscle.

"I thought I threw the ball well today. Through the second and fifth (innings) I felt like I was getting in a little of groove, felt like I was getting on top of the ball and located well to righties today. I did some good things today and did some bad things today and move on to the next step," said Prior who snapped a career-high 10-game winless streak.

Angel Pagan and Matt Murton each homered and drove in two runs to back Prior and five relievers.

Ryan Dempster pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 21st save.

The Pirates got solo home runs from Ronny Paulino and Nate McLouth.

Pirates starter Zach Duke (7-10), who has been undefeated against the Cubs, gave up four runs in the first inning on six hits as the Cubs batted around. Duke came into the game 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA in four outings -- three at Wrigley Field -- against Chicago.

But Juan Pierre led off with a single and then scored on Cesar Izturis' groundout. With two outs, Aramis Ramirez doubled and scored on Angel Pagan's single. Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno had RBI singles up the middle to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

"It's not something where I look back and say 'Oh yeah I control this team.' Because then you go out and get complacent. That thought never crossed my mind," Duke said.

Duke lasted six innings and gave up five runs on nine hits. He had two strikeouts and walked three.

"He had a rough spot in the first inning," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "If he puts the first inning down they get the one run and more than likely he's out there for quite awhile today."

Paulino hit his fifth homer of the season in the fifth inning to make it 4-1.

Prior couldn't find the strike zone in the sixth inning and the Pirates were able to cut the lead to 4-3. Jason Bay and Xavier Nady walked, and with two outs Prior hit Jose Bautista with a pitch to load the bases. Paulino walked on four straight pitches, scoring Bay and ending Prior's outing.

Catcher Michael Barrett didn't want to discuss Prior's troubles in the sixth inning.

"I just think that today was a great game for him. We just need to forget that and now think about the fact that he got his first win and go from here," Barrett said.

Will Ohman relieved and struck out Duke with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Murton hit his sixth homer in the sixth to make it 5-3.

After McClouth homered off Scott Eyre in the seventh inning, Michael Barrett made it 6-4 with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning against reliever Salomon Torres.

The Pirates drew within one again when Nady drove in a run with a groundout in the eighth inning.

But Pagan's solo shot in the eighth against Matt Capps gave the Cubs an insurance run.


  • SS Jack Wilson missed his third straight game with tightness in his right calf. He is day-to-day.
  • Murton is 10 for his last 22 after going 2-for-4.
  • Duke is 1-8 on the road this season.
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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Matt Murton follows through on an RBI single. He finishes 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the win.  (AP)
Matt Murton follows through on an RBI single. He finishes 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the win. (AP)

Players of the Game

M. Murton
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

A. Pagan
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF5000012 .182
Nate McLouth, RF5111012 .227
Freddy Sanchez, SS5000001 .339
Jason Bay, LF3210110 .292
Xavier Nady, 1B3110100 .272
Jose Castillo, 2B4021002 .273
Jose Bautista, 3B2000022 .261
Ronny Paulino, C3113101 .312
Zach Duke, P3020013 .234
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .250
   a- Jeromy Burnitz, PH1000001 .234
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Torres in the 8th
2B - Zach Duke (3, Prior)
HR - Nate McLouth (6, Eyre), Ronny Paulino (5, Prior)
SH - Jose Bautista (1)
RBI - Nate McLouth (13), Jose Castillo (53), Ronny Paulino 3 (34)
2-OUT RBI - Ronny Paulino (19)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Chris Duffy 1
DP - Duke-Castillo-Nady, Nady-F. Sanchez-Torres
E - Jose Bautista (5, ), Ronny Paulino (10, )
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (L,7-10) 6955321 5.35
John Grabow 0.1011100 4.02
Salomon Torres 0.2100100 4.02
Matt Capps 0.1111001 3.53
Damaso Marte 0.2000000 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 107-61, John Grabow 10-6, Salomon Torres 10-4, Matt Capps 3-3, Damaso Marte 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 9-4, John Grabow 1-0, Salomon Torres 1-0, Matt Capps 2-0
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 27, John Grabow 2, Salomon Torres 3, Matt Capps 3, Damaso Marte 1
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF3210102 .279
Cesar Izturis, SS3011000 .243
Michael Barrett, C4011001 .333
Aramis Ramirez, 3B2110200 .274
Phil Nevin, 1B2100111 .228
   a- John Mabry, PH-1B1000001 .221
Angel Pagan, RF-LF3222100 .293
Matt Murton, LF4122001 .295
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
Ronny Cedeno, 2B3021000 .256
Mark Prior, P2010013 .083
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
   b- Ryan Theriot, PH1000000 .250
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
   c- Jacque Jones, PH-RF1000001 .288
a-grounded into a double play for Nevin in the 7th
b-grounded out for Ohman in the 6th
c-flied out for Howry in the 8th
2B - Aramis Ramirez (22, Duke)
HR - Angel Pagan (4, Capps), Matt Murton (6, Duke)
SH - Cesar Izturis (1), Ronny Cedeno (13)
RBI - Cesar Izturis (13), Michael Barrett (43), Angel Pagan 2 (10), Matt Murton 2 (39), Ronny Cedeno (26)
2-OUT RBI - Angel Pagan (6), Matt Murton (15), Ronny Cedeno (9)
SB - Juan Pierre (39, 3rd base off Duke/Paulino)
CS - Angel Pagan (2, 2nd base by Duke/Paulino)
PK - Matt Murton (1, Marte)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Izturis-Cedeno-Nevin
E - Ronny Cedeno (18, )
Chicago Cubs
Mark Prior (W,1-5) 5.2532351 6.64
Will Ohman (H,6) 0.1000010 4.98
Scott Eyre (H,17) 0.1111001 2.17
Michael Wuertz (H,4) 0.2000000 3.38
Bob Howry (H,17) 1211000 3.44
Ryan Dempster (S,21) 1000000 4.21
HBP - J. Bautista (by Mark Prior)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Prior 103-64, Will Ohman 5-3, Scott Eyre 4-2, Michael Wuertz 7-5, Bob Howry 13-9, Ryan Dempster 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Prior 6-6, Scott Eyre 1-0, Bob Howry 2-1, Ryan Dempster 1-2
Batters Faced - Mark Prior 26, Will Ohman 1, Scott Eyre 2, Michael Wuertz 2, Bob Howry 5, Ryan Dempster 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41007
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Tom Hallion