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Chicago at Pittsburgh

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Chi. Cubs (37-38) «2000010104100
Pittsburgh (36-42)100000000161

Cubs continue surge against NL Central, beat Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

PITTSBURGH -- No doubt the Cubs anticipated needing Randy Wells and Sam Fuld to win games for them as the All-Star break approached in early July. The Iowa Cubs, that is.

The Chicago Cubs? Hardly, at least not until injuries repeatedly made them dip into the minors for help.

Derrek Lee and Kosuke Fukudome homered to support Wells' seven effective innings and the Cubs won another series from division opponent Pittsburgh, beating the Pirates 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Fuld made a major contribution with his first two career hits and a strong throw from left field to get Jack Wilson at the plate and shut down a potential Pirates rally in the fifth.

 Pirates: SS Wilson apologizes for criticism | Acquire Salazar one day after trade

"It's nice to see guys get a chance, come up and contribute," said Wells, who might have included himself in that group. "That's what we all hope for when we go down to Iowa and take all those early flights and kind of put up with all the [stuff] of Triple-A. That's all you ask for."

Wells (3-3) was all the Cubs could ask for. The right-hander gave up one run and six hits, allowing the Cubs to take two of three in Pittsburgh and avoid falling three games under .500 for the first time since they were 36-39 in 2007.

Wells, lost in the December 2007 draft before the Cubs got him back from Toronto last year, has been a pleasant surprise to a team that has been set back by injuries all season. Wells has a 2.18 ERA while winning his last three starts.

"I like to think I've been consistent," Wells said. "When I was called up to make my first start [May 8], I said, `Just be who you are. Go out, throw strikes, mix speeds and keep the flow of the game going."'

Chicago kept it going against the Pirates, who have dropped eight of their last nine series to the Cubs dating to 2007 and 21 of the teams' last 27 games. The Pirates are 2-4 against them this season, which partly explains their 11-23 record in the NL Central.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella liked everything he saw, even if he didn't see all the game. Piniella was ejected by first-base umpire Chad Fairchild for throwing his cap while arguing Wells was safe on a slowly hit ball to the mound with two on and two outs in the sixth.

"The umpire missed a call, what can I say?" Piniella said. "I saw it very plain from where I was. But what are you going to do?"

Wells, given a 2-0 lead on Lee's two-run drive three batters into the game, gave a run back on Andrew McCutchen's double and Brandon Moss' RBI single in the bottom of the inning, but didn't allow anything after that. He struck out four and walked one, permitting only one runner to reach third after the first.

Wells gave up three singles in the fifth, but the Pirates -- down 2-1 -- ran themselves out of a potential rally when Fuld threw out Wilson on Freddy Sanchez's single, stranding two runners.

"I thought we had a chance. I thought he would have to turn and make a pretty good throw and sure enough, he did," Wilson said.

Fuld, making his first start this season and second in the majors, opened the game with a double off Virgil Vasquez for his first hit in seven career at-bats. Lee followed a batter later with his 12th homer.

Fuld, 0 for 6 during a September callup in 2007, also singled while reaching base three times.

"It felt great to get the first one out of the way," Fuld said. "I felt comfortable all night long and really couldn't have asked for a better night."

Carlos Marmol followed Wells with a scoreless eighth and Kevin Gregg finished up for his 14th save in 17 opportunities, with neither reliever permitting a hit.

Vasquez (1-1), coming off a 5-3 decision over Kansas City on Friday, gave up six hits and three runs in six innings. Fukudome made it 3-1 with a drive into the seats in right-center on Vasquez's 3-2 pitch in the sixth.

Notes

  • The Cubs, 3-7 on a 10-game trip, return home for their final 11 games before the break.
  • Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez (shoulder) begins a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Peoria on Friday and could return as early as Monday. The Cubs are 21-24 without him.
  • The Pirates released OF Craig Monroe, who was designated for assignment June 16.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Derrek Lee gets the Cubs on the board early with a two-run shot in the first inning.  (AP)
Derrek Lee gets the Cubs on the board early with a two-run shot in the first inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

K. Fukudome
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Chicago

R. Wells
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 1
K 4
 

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Chicago Cubs
Sam Fuld, LF4120110 .500
Ryan Theriot, SS4020001 .286
Derrek Lee, 1B5112022 .282
Milton Bradley, RF2100200 .239
Jake Fox, 3B4010011 .316
    Mike Fontenot, 3B0000000 .220
Kosuke Fukudome, CF4121001 .260
Geovany Soto, C4021000 .236
Andres Blanco, 2B3000114 .231
Randy Wells, P3000012 .167
   a- Micah Hoffpauir, PH1000012 .248
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
Totals34410447  
a-struck out for R. Wells in the 8th
Batting
2B - Sam Fuld (1, Vasquez), Kosuke Fukudome (15, Vasquez)
3B - Geovany Soto (1, Vasquez)
HR - Derrek Lee (12, Vasquez), Kosuke Fukudome (6, Vasquez)
SH - Ryan Theriot (5)
RBI - Derrek Lee 2 (41), Kosuke Fukudome (24), Geovany Soto (25)
2-OUT RBI - Kosuke Fukudome (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Sam Fuld 1
DP - Blanco-Theriot-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Randy Wells (W,3-3) 7611140 2.43
Carlos Marmol (H,17) 1000020 3.86
Kevin Gregg (S,14) 1000000 3.82
HBP - Young (by Carlos Marmol)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wells 97-66, Carlos Marmol 17-11, Kevin Gregg 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wells 11-4
Batters Faced - Randy Wells 26, Carlos Marmol 4, Kevin Gregg 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen, CF4120001 .292
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4010014 .315
Garrett Jones, LF4000012 .000
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000100 .268
Brandon Moss, RF4011010 .267
Ramon Vazquez, 3B4000012 .244
Jason Jaramillo, C3020010 .273
Jack Wilson, SS3000002 .284
Virgil Vasquez, P2000011 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
    Jesse Chavez, P0000000 .000
    Steven Jackson, P0000000 .000
   a- Delwyn Young, PH0000000 .318
    Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
Totals3116116  
a-hit by pitch for Jackson in the 8th
Batting
2B - Andrew McCutchen (5, R. Wells)
RBI - Brandon Moss (20)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Moss (5)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - J. Wilson-F. Sanchez-LaRoche, F. Sanchez-J. Wilson-LaRoche
E - Virgil Vasquez (1, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Virgil Vasquez (L,1-1) 6733322 3.75
Joel Hanrahan 1100010 7.49
Jesse Chavez 0.1111100 3.44
Steven Jackson 0.2100020 4.97
Evan Meek 1000020 2.83
IBB - Blanco by Virgil Vasquez
WP - Steven Jackson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Virgil Vasquez 101-55, Joel Hanrahan 11-8, Jesse Chavez 15-9, Steven Jackson 14-10, Evan Meek 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Virgil Vasquez 10-5, Joel Hanrahan 1-0, Evan Meek 1-0
Batters Faced - Virgil Vasquez 27, Joel Hanrahan 3, Jesse Chavez 3, Steven Jackson 3, Evan Meek 3
Game Information
Attendance - 15770
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Wally Bell