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Chicago at Pittsburgh

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Chi. Cubs (4-3) «01600100000210133
Pittsburgh (3-4)0005021000008132

Cubs squander 7-0 lead, but recover to top Pirates in 12

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Chuck Tanner couldn't do it. Jim Leyland couldn't do it, either, and both went on to win the World Series.

So it probably was too much to ask John Russell to break a streak that dates to the 1960s in which every new Pittsburgh Pirates manager loses his home opener. Even after a rarely seen comeback from a seven-run deficit.

Aramis Ramirez's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run during a two-run 12th inning in which the Cubs didn't have a hit off rookie Evan Meek, and Chicago rallied after squandering the huge lead to win the Pittsburgh Pirates' home opener 10-8 Monday.

Former starter Jon Lieber (1-1) gave a depleted bullpen a big lift with three scoreless innings before Carlos Marmol finished up in the 12th for his first save since June 27, helping the Cubs win their third in a row.

Even after they gave away the huge lead, committed three key infield errors and walked eight batters.

"I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," manager Lou Piniella said. "Opening day in Pittsburgh, you have to give them credit for coming back. But we pulled one out -- it wasn't pretty, but it's in the win column."

It wasn't pretty for the Pirates, either, who also had two costly errors, walked 11 and threw three wild pitches.

Pittsburgh rallied a week to the day after blowing a five-run lead in the ninth inning in Atlanta before winning 12-11 in 12 innings, but couldn't win this one.

"When you make a comeback like that, you'd like to push one more across," the Pirates' Nate McLouth said.

Russell did something every new Pirates manager since Larry Shepard in 1968 has done by losing his home debut. Nothing new there for a club coming off 15 consecutive losing seasons: The Pirates have dropped their last four home openers and 13 of 15 dating to Three Rivers Stadium.

Russell seemed more disappointed for the 37,491 who crowded into PNC Park, many of them staying throughout a game that lasted nearly five hours and once seemed impossible for the home club to win.

"They hung in there and it would have been great to win for them," Russell said.

Meek (0-1), a winter-meeting draft pick, was the last remaining pitcher in Pittsburgh's bullpen. He got off to a bad start by walking Ryan Theriot and Alfonso Soriano and, after two intentional walks and the Ramirez sacrifice fly, Mark DeRosa walked to force in another run.

"I was just too worried about walking guys and didn't compete and I let down my teammates," said Meek, who must stay with the Pirates all season or be offered back to Tampa Bay. "It's going to work out."

Even if it never seems to for the Pirates in their home opener.

Ramirez and Geovany Soto each drove in two runs and Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny walked three and committed a run-scoring throwing error during a six-run third finished off by Ronny Cedeno's three-run double off Phil Dumatrait.

The Pirates, who didn't score at least seven runs until May 13 last season but have done it three times in seven games this season, turned the Cubs' own errant throwing and starter Ted Lilly's wildness into a five-run fourth that got them back into the game.

Pittsburgh had a chance to win it after Ryan Doumit led off the ninth with a double. But, after pinch-runner Brian Bixler advanced to third with one out, he was stranded when Jose Bautista bunted into an out and Luis Rivas grounded out.

Bautista, trying to cross up the Cubs, bunted on his own and Bixler probably would have scored if he had broken on contact. But Bixler, who was on third base for the first time in the majors, hesitated and didn't go.

"I couldn't tell you what happened on the other end," Bautista said. "I thought I put a pretty good bunt down. I don't know what happened."

Pittsburgh did nothing after that against Lieber, who, according to Piniella, would have gone five or six innings if the game had dictated it.

"I needed to hold the team in there," Lieber said. "I was ready to pitch as long as they needed me."

Notes

  • Hall of Fame infielder Bill Mazeroski threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • The Pirates are wearing a uniform patch on their home jerseys commemorating the 250th anniversary of Pittsburgh's founding.
  • Pirates 1B Adam LaRoche (tender right thumb) didn't start but was used as a pinch-hitter.
  • Gorzelanny threw strikes on only 36 of his 70 pitches.
  • Soto is a .407 career hitter (11-for-27) against Pittsburgh.
 
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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Ryan Theriot races home for the go-ahead run to spoil Pittsburgh's home opener.  (AP)
Ryan Theriot races home for the go-ahead run to spoil Pittsburgh's home opener. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

G. Soto
AB 7
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

N. McLouth
AB 6
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF6110112 .094
Reed Johnson, CF3210202 .308
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1000000 .000
    Felix Pie, PR-CF1000002 .188
Derrek Lee, 1B5120212 .400
Aramis Ramirez, 3B6112013 .200
Kosuke Fukudome, RF5131210 .458
Mark DeRosa, 2B5211225 .320
Geovany Soto, C7132007 .261
Ronny Cedeno, SS5013003 .286
    Jon Lieber, P1000001 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Ted Lilly, P2000012 .000
    Kevin Hart, P1000011 .000
    Carmen Pignatiello, P0000000 .000
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
   b- Mike Fontenot, PH1000000 .429
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Theriot, SS0100200 .200
Totals4910139118  
a-grounded out for Johnson in the 10th
b-flied out for Howry in the 7th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (4, Osoria), Mark DeRosa (3, Gorzelanny), Geovany Soto (1, Osoria), Ronny Cedeno (1, Dumatrait)
SF - Aramis Ramirez (1)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (3), Kosuke Fukudome (6), Mark DeRosa (4), Geovany Soto 2 (6), Ronny Cedeno 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Mark DeRosa (2)
SB - Felix Pie (2, 2nd base off Capps/Paulino), Kosuke Fukudome (2, 2nd base off Grabow/Doumit), Ryan Theriot 2 (3, 2nd base off Capps/Paulino, 2nd base off Meek/Paulino)
Team LOB - 15
Fielding
PB - Geovany Soto (1)
E - Ronny Cedeno (1, Throwing), Mark DeRosa (2, Misplayed grounder), Aramis Ramirez (2, Throwing)
Chicago Cubs
Ted Lilly 3.2755210 9.72
Kevin Hart 1.1222110 4.15
Carmen Pignatiello0000200 13.50
Bob Howry (H,2) 1000100 12.27
Michael Wuertz (BS,1) 2110010 0.00
Jon Lieber (W,1-1) 3200220 0.00
Carlos Marmol (S,1) 1100010 1.50
IBB - Doumit by Bob Howry, Mientkiewicz by Jon Lieber, by Mientkiewicz
Pitches-Strikes - Ted Lilly 80-50, Kevin Hart 32-19, Carmen Pignatiello 8-0, Bob Howry 9-3, Michael Wuertz 23-17, Jon Lieber 35-23, Carlos Marmol 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ted Lilly 2-7, Kevin Hart 2-1, Bob Howry 1-2, Michael Wuertz 4-1, Jon Lieber 4-3, Carlos Marmol 1-1
Batters Faced - Ted Lilly 19, Kevin Hart 7, Carmen Pignatiello 2, Bob Howry 4, Michael Wuertz 7, Jon Lieber 13, Carlos Marmol 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF-LF6032110 .441
Freddy Sanchez, 2B6001022 .263
Jason Bay, LF4010012 .182
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH1000000 .087
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
   b- Zach Duke, PH1000010 .000
    Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
Ryan Doumit, C4120101 .458
    Brian Bixler, PR0000000 .000
    Ronny Paulino, C1000000 .222
Xavier Nady, RF5120104 .387
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B3100301 .250
Jose Bautista, 3B4220106 .214
Luis Rivas, SS6221004 .318
Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000 .000
    Phil Dumatrait, P1000000 .000
   c- Chris Gomez, PH1111000 .400
    Franquelis Osoria, P0000000 .000
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
   d- Nyjer Morgan, PH-CF3000110 .222
Totals46813586  
a-grounded out for Yates in the 8th
b-struck out for Capps in the 11th
c-singled for Dumatrait in the 4th
d-walked for Marte in the 6th
Batting
2B - Ryan Doumit (1, Lieber), Xavier Nady (2, Lieber), Jose Bautista (3, Wuertz)
3B - Nate McLouth (1, Lilly)
SF - Freddy Sanchez (1)
SH - Jose Bautista (2)
RBI - Nate McLouth 2 (9), Freddy Sanchez (2), Luis Rivas (2), Chris Gomez (6)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth (6), Luis Rivas (1), Chris Gomez (3)
CS - Nate McLouth (1, 2nd base by Lilly/Soto), Nyjer Morgan (1, 2nd base by Wuertz/Soto)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Rivas-F. Sanchez-Mientkiewicz
E - Tom Gorzelanny (1, Throwing), Luis Rivas (3, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Tom Gorzelanny 2.1677420 10.80
Phil Dumatrait 1.2200110 0.00
Franquelis Osoria 1311010 6.00
Damaso Marte 1000000 16.20
Tyler Yates 2000000 1.59
John Grabow 1100110 0.00
Matt Capps 2100030 7.36
Evan Meek (L,0-1) 1022500 27.00
IBB - Lee by Evan Meek, by Fukudome
WP - Tom Gorzelanny (1), Evan Meek 2 (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 70-36, Phil Dumatrait 25-15, Franquelis Osoria 24-19, Damaso Marte 10-7, Tyler Yates 26-17, John Grabow 30-17, Matt Capps 42-25, Evan Meek 36-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 2-2, Phil Dumatrait 2-2, Franquelis Osoria 2-1, Damaso Marte 1-2, Tyler Yates 1-5, Matt Capps 2-2, Evan Meek 1-2
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 16, Phil Dumatrait 8, Franquelis Osoria 7, Damaso Marte 3, Tyler Yates 6, John Grabow 5, Matt Capps 8, Evan Meek 8
Game Information
Attendance - 37491
Game Time - 4:47
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Scott Barry