The Cubs look for an eighth consecutive victory over the struggling Pirates when the teams continue their weekend series Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
After having its three-game winning streak snapped with a 9-2 home loss to Cincinnati on Thursday, Chicago (10-6) bounced back with a 3-2 win in Friday’s series opener for its fourth straight win over the Pirates (7-9) this season. The Cubs swept a three-game set in Pittsburgh from April 7-10.
It was the third straight loss overall for the Pirates, who are hitting .175 and have scored five total runs in those defeats.
DeRosa is 7-for-15 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last five games. He is also 3-for-8 with a pair of doubles against Pittsburgh’s scheduled Saturday starter Tom Gorzelanny.
“I don’t want to say I’m surprised, because I take pride in my offense, but coming off the spring I had, I wasn’t expecting to get off to as good of a start I have,” DeRosa said. “I’m just trying to keep a low profile and keep hitting.”
Chicago, which belted out nine hits, and is batting .321 in its last seven games versus Pittsburgh dating to 2007. The Pirates are batting .219 versus the Cubs this season.
Jason Marquis (0-0, 5.23 ERA) looks to help the Cubs continue their recent dominance over the Pirates when he makes his third start of the season Saturday.
Recovering from strep throat, Marquis allowed two runs and four hits over five innings, but walked five in a 10-inning, 6-5 win at Philadelphia on Sunday.
The right-hander is 5-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 career starts versus Pittsburgh.
Gorzelanny (1-1, 6.75), meanwhile, is coming off his first win of the season after allowing a run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings during Pittsburgh’s 9-1 home victory over Cincinnati on Sunday.
It was a better effort than his previous start, a 10-8, 12-inning home loss to the Cubs on April 7 where he allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings.
“I was more confident, I was challenging guys and I let them get themselves out,” said Gorzelanny of his most recent outing. “I stayed in the strike zone a lot more than I did the last time. We worked on a lot of things between starts and I went back to attacking hitters.”
The left-hander, a native of suburban Chicago who won 14 games in 2007, is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his career versus the Cubs, with both losses coming at Wrigley Field last season.
McLouth is 7-for-21 versus the Cubs in 2008.