Chicago (5-6) at Pittsburgh (4-7)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Apr 17, 2005
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Chicago manager Dusty Baker feels that the Cubs are on the cusp of breaking out of their early season slump.

They will try to win the deciding game of their series with Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

The Cubs had expected a better start in their first 11 games than 5-6, but after Saturday’s 4-3 come-from-behind win, Baker thinks they may have turned the corner.

“Just a little here, little there,” Baker said. “We needed that one. That was a big game for us.”

Neifi Perez doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh and Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer to carry Chicago to just their second victory in five games.

Perez went 2-for-4, giving him nine hits in four games, and Ramirez hit his first homer since opening day as the Cubs bounced back from an 8-5 loss Friday in which they squandered three different two-run leads.

Cubs reliever Chad Fox, who gave up Bobby Hill’s decisive two-run double in the eighth inning Friday, struck out David Ross with the bases loaded and two out to preserve the lead in the eighth on Saturday. Ross went 0-for-4 after homering twice Friday.

“That kind of win right there, that’s the kind of win that gets a team going,” Fox said. “We’ve been kind of up and down, up and down. It’s so early, but this team, once we get clicking, it’s going to be a fun ride.”

Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson is search of a big game himself,

Coming off a career year in which he hit .308, the All-Star shortstop is hitting just .190 with one RBI in 42 at-bats this season.

“It’s just one of those funks,” said Wilson, who went 2-for-5 in Saturday’s defeat. “You just have to keep working. It’s not going to stay around forever.”

Despite the slump, Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon says Wilson will stay in the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

“At some point you would have to consider that,” said McClendon. ”(But) we’re a long way away from that. I wouldn’t worry about Jack Wilson. He’s a three-hit day away from coming out of it.”

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Starting Pitchers

G. Maddux LAD vs. M. Redman COL
13-15 Record 5-15
4.24 ERA 4.90
136 K 101
36 BB 56
1.22 WHIP 1.37