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17 May 2008

Buccos Beat The Cubbies!

McLouth ends Bucs' slide vs. Cubs
Center fielder drills two-run homer in the ninth inning

CHICAGO -- For the first time in eight games against the Cubs this season, the Pirates were finally the ones who got to shake hands on the field afterward. A back-and-forth afternoon ended in the Pirates' favor, as the Bucs snapped a 10-game overall losing streak to the Cubs with a 7-6 win in front of 41,686 at Wrigley Field on Saturday.

This Pirates' first win against the National League Central-leading Cubs was sealed by none other than center fielder Nate McLouth, who continues to be the club's offensive catalyst. With one on and the game tied in the ninth, McLouth connected for a homer off Carlos Marmol that landed just over the right-field basket. The homer was the 12th of the season for McLouth, and his second of the year against Marmol.

McLouth's homer aided a Pittsburgh bullpen that had blown its second save of the road trip two innings earlier. Pirates starter Zach Duke, who had allowed four runs early, finally settled in and retired eight hitters in a row before handing over a 5-4 lead to Tyler Yates with one out in the seventh. In total, the left-hander allowed four runs on eight hits.

Duke's aim at his third straight win, however, would be foiled two pitches later when Alfonso Soriano took Yates deep to even the game. The homer was the second of the afternoon for the Chicago left fielder and his fourth already this series.

After falling into an early 4-2 hole, the Pirates had taken the lead with three runs in the fifth that chased Chicago righty Carlos Zambrano from the game. Duke opened the inning by drawing a four-pitch walk before back-to-back singles by Freddy Sanchez and McLouth brought him around to score.

After a walk to Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche connected for his second consecutive single to center to drive in the tying run. Xavier Nady drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right that pushed his team-leading RBI total to 35.

Our record now sits at 21-22. It seems that the baseball Gods do not want us to eclipse .500!


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