|Chi. Cubs (2-1) «||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||3||3||1|
At the rate the volatile right-hander is going, further notice might arrive before the end of the weekend.
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Looking to bounce back from a shaky performance on opening day -- when he was pulled after retiring just one of the three batters he faced -- Marmol again made things in the ninth.
Starling Marte singled and Russell Martin walked to Pittsburgh's start final at-bat. Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez followed with consecutive run-scoring singles. Still, Chicago manager Dale Sveum stuck with Marmol and he responded by whiffing Pedro Alvarez on three pitches then getting Neil Walker to ground sharply to second base, allowing the Cubs to turn the double play.
"It does feel good, when you've been struggling and give up a base hit and walk people, to strike out one guy and get a groundball, it feels great," Marmol said.
Sveum insists Marmol will continue to get the ball in the ninth, pointing out Marmol wasn't exactly steady last year while picking up 20 saves.
"For the most part we know things like that can get interesting with him," Sveum said. "But he got out of it again."
The high-wire act allowed the Cubs to take an opening series for the first time in four years, an important step for a team looking to catch up to the rest of the NL Central.
"Could have been 0-3 really but it was nice," Sveum said. "We won both ballgames we were ahead in."
The Cubs were ahead thanks in large part to Wood, an X-factor for a team trying to make inroads on the rest of the NL Central.
The left-hander struck out four and walked two. He also scored the game's first run, racing home on Starlin Castro's single in the third inning.
"I had good fastball command, I was able to locate it both sides and keep them off-balance," Wood said.
The loss spoiled a stellar season debut for Pittsburgh starter James McDonald. The right-hander gave up just two hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking two.
McDonald's start provided a welcome return to form for the enigmatic 28-year-old, who nearly made the All-Star team last season before stumbling during a bumpy second half. He went just 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA after the July break as the efficiency that led to his breakout first half vanished.
There were no such problems on a chilly 45-degree afternoon. His only hiccup came in the third. Wood singled with one out, moved to second on a groundball then scored on Castro's single to center field.
"He went out and he pitched a gem," McCutchen said. "You hate for guys to go out like that, go seven strong innings and get the loss but hopefully he can continue to do that and the bats will come around."
The hit marked the first by the Cubs with a runner in scoring position this season, ending an 0-for-13 start.
After Marmol survived a hectic ninth, Wood improved to 4-1 in his career at PNC Park.
The Pirates simply couldn't get going. Clint Barmes was stranded at second in the third inning following a one-out double off Wood, the only base hit Wood allowed all day. He retired 10 straight at one point to give the Cubs an early boost, handcuffing Pittsburgh all afternoon.
Chicago didn't run into trouble until after Wood gave way to Shawn Camp in the seventh. McCutchen reached on an error then stole second and third.
Reliever James Russell, however, struck out Neil Walker looking and the Pirates wasted a golden opportunity in the ninth as the Cubs improved to 2-1 for the first time since taking two of three from Houston to open the 2009 season.
"It's nice to start on the road to win two of three against a good team and three good starting pitchers," Sveum said. "That's a good start."
|Travis Wood throws 6 solid innings to beat the Pirates, helping the Cubs win their first season-opening series in four years. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|David DeJesus, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.000|
|Starlin Castro, SS||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.250|
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||0||2||.111|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.083|
|Nate Schierholtz, RF||3||1||1||2||1||1||0||.333|
|Dioner Navarro, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Luis Valbuena, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Brent Lillibridge, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kyuji Fujikawa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Travis Wood, P||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Shawn Camp, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|James Russell, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Steve Clevenger, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Alberto Gonzalez, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a-grounded out for Russell in the 8th|
|HR - Nate Schierholtz (1, Hughes)|
|RBI - Starlin Castro (1), Nate Schierholtz 2 (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Starlin Castro (1), Nate Schierholtz 2 (2)|
|SB - Anthony Rizzo (1, 2nd base off Hughes/Martin)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Valbuena-Castro-Rizzo, Gonzalez-Castro-Rizzo|
|E - Luis Valbuena (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Travis Wood (W,1-0)||6||1||0||0||2||4||0||0.00|
|Shawn Camp (H,1)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|James Russell (H,2)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Kyuji Fujikawa (H,1)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Carlos Marmol (S,1)||1||3||2||2||1||1||0||20.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Travis Wood 85-54, Shawn Camp 11-8, James Russell 8-4, Kyuji Fujikawa 9-7, Carlos Marmol 20-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Travis Wood 5-8, Shawn Camp 1-0, Kyuji Fujikawa 2-0, Carlos Marmol 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Travis Wood 20, Shawn Camp 2, James Russell 2, Kyuji Fujikawa 3, Carlos Marmol 6|
|Starling Marte, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.182|
|Russell Martin, C||3||1||0||0||1||1||1||.000|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||4||0||1||1||0||2||0||.300|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.100|
|Pedro Alvarez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.167|
|Neil Walker, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.200|
|Jose Tabata, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Clint Barmes, SS||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.286|
|a- Travis Snider, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jared Hughes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|James McDonald, P||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.000|
|Mark Melancon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Garrett Jones, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.111|
|John McDonald, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Barmes in the 8th|
|b-struck out for Melancon in the 8th|
|2B - Clint Barmes (2, Wood)|
|RBI - Andrew McCutchen (2), Gaby Sanchez (2)|
|SB - Andrew McCutchen 2 (4, 2nd base off Camp/Navarro, 3rd base off Russell/Navarro)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|James McDonald (L,0-1)||7||2||1||1||2||4||0||1.29|
|Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 97-61, Mark Melancon 11-9, Jared Hughes 20-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 5-12, Mark Melancon 2-1, Jared Hughes 1-0|
|Batters Faced - James McDonald 25, Mark Melancon 3, Jared Hughes 5|
|Attendance - 11634|
|Game Time - 2:41|
|Temperature - 45|
|Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Ron Kulpa|