Cubs 5, Pirates 4, 10 innings
PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Chicago Cubs won for the third time in three cities in three days. They may not recall where they are when they wake up, but they don’t have any trouble remembering how to win.
Pirates reliever Salomon Torres’ wild pitch scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, and Aramis Ramirez’s two-run homer helped the road-weary Cubs to a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
The Cubs couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead, with the Pirates tying it in the ninth on Jack Wilson’s RBI single, but they still came back to win their 10th in 13 games. They remained a half-game behind the Giants in the NL wild-card race and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Houston Astros, who lost 9-2 in San Francisco.
“This is why I came over here, to be in a pennant race,” Ramirez said. “We knew the Giants and Astros are playing each other right now, and that’s what makes coming to the ballpark fun.”
Even if it’s a different ballpark every day.
The Cubs played in their third road city in three days, the first time they’ve done that since they met the Giants, Phillies and Dodgers on consecutive days in 1953—or 51 years ago. They are 3-1 in a 57-hour stretch that began with them beating the Reds in Cincinnati on Sunday, then splitting a makeup doubleheader Monday at Florida.
“It was hard, but I didn’t hear anybody complain about it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Nobody said anything, We know what we have to do. The schedule is what it is. We played pretty well and we won, and that’s all that matters. It didn’t matter what the score was, as long as we won.”
It doesn’t seem to matter what town it is, either. Chicago is 5-2 on an 11-day, 12-game, four-city trip that runs through this weekend.
Corey Patterson doubled to start the 10th against Torres (7-6), who came on after the Pirates tied it in the ninth. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk, Torres struck out Moises Alou for the second out, but his first-pitch sinker to Derrek Lee skidded in the dirt and past catcher Jason Kendall to score Patterson.
“I was really pulling for Moises to get it done, and nine times out of 10 he’s going to get the job done,” Patterson said. “But we got a break right there—and we got a win.”
Kendall took the blame for letting the ball get by him, but manager Lloyd McClendon said the catcher had no play on a pitch that broke sharply downward just as it reached the plate.
“He had just gotten a big strikeout of Alou, but the sinker just got away from him,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Torres. “There’s not much Jason can do with that pitch.”
LaTroy Hawkins (5-4) got the victory despite allowing the tying run in the ninth, the first run against him in 10 innings over eight games. Ryan Dempster pitched the 10th for his second save in as many opportunities, retiring all three batters he faced.
Hawkins walked pinch-hitter Rob Mackowiak with one out before Kendall and Jack Wilson each singled into center, tying it at 4.
Before that, the Cubs went ahead 4-1 when Ramirez broke Ron Santo’s 1965 season record for homers by a Cubs third baseman with his 34th, a two-run shot following Neifi Perez’s RBI single in the fifth off Josh Fogg.
“It’s quite a thing to go past a player like Ron Santo,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s homer gave him 101 RBIs, allowing him to join Santo (four times) and Andy Pafko (once) as the only third basemen in Cubs history with 100 RBIs in a season.
Ramirez also walked to start the fourth and scored on Sammy Sosa’s one-out single.
Cubs starter Kerry Wood gave up three runs and six hits and struck out seven in seven innings, but didn’t figure in the decision. Fogg left after giving up nine hits and four runs in six innings, avoiding the loss when the Pirates tied it.
The Cubs are 4-0 against the Pirates over nine days, outscoring them 28-13 and hitting 11 homers to Pittsburgh’s zero. … The Cubs are 37-26 since the All-Star break and 11-5 overall against the Pirates. … Cubs SS Nomar Garciaparra expects to return to the lineup Wednesday after being out since Sept. 11 with a sore groin. … The Cubs twice played three opponents in three days during the labor dispute-delayed 1995 season, but they had home games each time.