Chicago (16-20) at Pittsburgh (17-19)

Mostly Clear Currently: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 17, 2005
  • TV: WCIU, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mark Prior looks for his first of the month when the Chicago Cubs open a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates—a team the right-hander has never lost to.

Prior started May 1 and lost 9-3 at Houston after allowing eight runs and seven hits over five innings. The right-hander has rebounded to pitch well in his last two starts, but hasn’t received a decision in either outing because the bullpen has twice blown a lead in the ninth inning.

Against Philadelphia on May 6, he struck out 10 over eight innings and gave up one run in Chicago’s 3-2 loss. In his last start on Wednesday against the New York Mets, Prior allowed one earned run on two hits over seven innings and struck out seven in the Cubs’ 4-3, 10-inning win.

Prior, however, said he isn’t concerned about not being unable to pick up a victory despite consecutive strong outings.

“Everything usually averages out,” he said. “We’ll get through it.”

Prior will be looking to earn his first win of the month against a Pittsburgh club he has a 5-0 record and 2.67 ERA in eight starts. He has allowed 45 hits over 54 innings in those outings, striking out 68 and issuing just 13 walks.

The Pirates have also been getting solid pitching of late.

Pittsburgh beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Sunday for its fourth straight series win after starting the season with a 6-12 record.

Dave Williams allowed two runs over 5 1-3 innings and Daryle Ward homered and drove in two runs as the Pirates won for the ninth time in 12 games. Pittsburgh’s starting pitchers have a 2.28 ERA in their last seven starts.

The Pirates will now turn to Josh Fogg, who won his second straight start last Wednesday by pitching seven strong innings in a gutsy effort on three days’ rest. Fogg, who worked on short rest after Oliver Perez had his scheduled start pushed back because of shoulder stiffness, allowed two runs and five hits in a 7-2 win over San Francisco.

“I feel good,” Fogg said. “I’ve been able to locate my fastball. I wasn’t doing that my last couple of starts.”

Kip Wells pitches for Pittsburgh and Glendon Rusch takes the mound for Chicago in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Prior CIN vs. J. Fogg PHI
11-7 Record 6-11
3.67 ERA 5.05
188 K 85
59 BB 53
1.21 WHIP 1.47