Pirates 3, Cubs 0

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CHICAGO (AP)—Zach Duke left 300-game winner Greg Maddux quite impressed.

Duke continued the brilliant start to his career by outpitching Maddux for eight innings, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Chicago Cubs 3-0 Saturday.

Duke (2-0), making his third career start, continued his dominance against big leaguers. He allowed six hits, struck out four, and extended his scoreless innings streak to 17. The 22-year-old left-hander lowered his ERA to 1.23.

“It was OK, I got outpitched though,” Maddux said of his performance. “Their guy didn’t make many mistakes and pitched a very good game. He shut down a team that has been swinging the bats really good the last couple of games.”

Jason Bay ended an 0-for-18 slump with a homer as the Pirates snapped the Cubs’ five-game winning streak. Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

Duke, who induced four double plays, started the season at Triple-A Indianapolis but was promoted after going 12-3. He was the Pirates’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2004, when he had a 1.46 ERA for Double-A Altoona and Class A Lynchburg.

“When you look up at the board he was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA, so he was getting somebody out,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “He had the double-play ball working today. Every time we had him in trouble he enticed us in a double play.”

Duke was promoted July 1 and quickly found himself matched up against one of baseball’s best pitchers.

“He’s a Hall of Fame guy. I’m very honored just to be on the same field with him,” Duke said.

Maddux (8-7) was nearly as sharp, allowing five hits in eight innings. But the Pirates scored twice against the 313-game winner in the first two innings to snap their three-game losing streak.

Bay hit a solo homer to left-center in the first inning, his 17th of the season. Humberto Cota and Jack Wilson hit back-to-back singles in the second, and Cota scored on Duke’s sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

Duke’s sacrifice fly was his highlight of the game.

“I’m more proud of that than anything, to be honest with you,” Duke said. “I got an RBI off of Greg Maddux. I’m going to call home and tell my parents that. I just put the bat on the ball and got lucky.”

Maddux retired 13 in a row between the second and the sixth. He allowed two earned runs and struck out six, leaving him six away from 3,000 in his career.

Duke pitched out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings. With one out and runners on first and third in the fifth, Duke struck out Henry Blanco and got Maddux to ground out.

Jerry Hairston and Todd Walker hit back-to-back singles in the sixth, but Duke came back and struck out Derrek Lee on a curveball and got Aramis Ramirez to hit into a double play.

Duke was not intimidated about facing Lee and Ramirez with runners in scoring position.

“I was kind of happy about it. That’s the kind of stuff I like to see. You want to face the best in the best situations,” Duke said. “What’s the fun of playing baseball if you’re not going to be put to the test?”

Lee and Ramirez went 0-for-6 against Duke.

“I had first and third with nobody out and the Triple Crown leader up there. I couldn’t ask for it work out any better than it did,” Duke said.

The Pirates scored their final run in the seventh. After a two-out walk to Jack Wilson, second baseman Walker booted Duke’s grounder. Matt Lawton followed with a double to make it 3-0.

Notes

Cubs catcher Michael Barrett was out of the starting lineup with a sore left hip. He is day to day. … Pirates OF Craig Wilson broke his left hand in the first inning. He was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the first inning and left the game in the second inning. The Pirates will place Craig Wilson on the disabled list Sunday and they will also make a related roster move.

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