The Pittsburgh Pirates had to wait an extra day to try for their first winning streak of the season.
One day after a rainout, the Pirates will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season as they open a shortened two-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
Friday’s scheduled series opener was postponed by rain and will be made up on July 14, originally a day off for both teams. Pittsburgh’s Mark Redman and Chicago’s Greg Maddux, who were both scheduled to start Friday, will take the mound Saturday.
Jason Bay had three hits, including his first home run of the season, to help Pittsburgh end a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory at Cincinnati on Thursday.
Bay, the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year, finished a triple short of the cycle and increased his batting average from .246 to .277. His performance was a good sign for the Pirates, who have scored a major league-low 47 runs this season.
“We were in desperate need of a win,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Hopefully, we can get on a roll. I told the guys to keep on fighting.”
Craig Wilson, who set career highs with 29 homers and 82 RBIs last season, is batting .255 with no homers and three RBIs while Bay’s home run gave him four RBIs.
In an effort to shake up his struggling team, McClendon batted Jack Wilson leadoff on Thursday and he went 0-for-4 to extend his hitless string to 0-for-19.
Chicago, which had won four of five, learned Garciaparra will be sidelined at least two-to-three months because of a torn left groin. Garciaparra was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, one day after he injured his groin as he left the batter’s box.
The Cubs, doctors and Garciaparra will decide in the next 10 days whether an operation is needed.
“I’m still gathering information about this injury and what it entails and what the rehab entails,” Garciaparra said Friday. “There are both pros and cons to having the surgery and not having the surgery.”
Walker could be sidelined until June because of a sprained knee sustained on April 10.
“We’ve only played less than a month and lost a second baseman and a shortstop,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “Fortunately for us, we’ve got guys here. Everybody’s been wondering when (Jerry) Hairston and Neifi (Perez) were going to play. Fortunately we have those guys.”
While Perez and Hairston will see most of the starts at shortstop and second, respectively, Ronny Cedeno and Mike Fontenot, called up when Walker was injured, will have to stay sharp while not playing regularly.
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had a pair of singles Thursday, and is hitting .600 (12-for-20) with two homers and six RBIs in his last five games.