Cubs 6, Pirates 5, 6 1/2 innings, susp., rain

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Even on a night Alfonso Soriano and Cliff Floyd finally produced as expected, the Chicago Cubs couldn’t find a way to complete a win. For a change, it wasn’t their fault.

Soriano hit his first homer for the Cubs and Floyd had a go-ahead, two-run shot during a four-run rally in the seventh inning that left Chicago leading the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 when the game was suspended because of rain Tuesday night.

After a delay of 2 hours, 18 minutes, the game was suspended with the Pirates about to bat in the seventh. It will be finished at 12:35 p.m. EDT on Wednesday before the teams play their regularly scheduled game.

While the game lasted longer than the required five innings to be official, it was suspended because the Pirates had not yet batted in the seventh. Baseball’s suspension rules were changed during the offseason to pick up play at the point where a game was stopped, rather than going back to the last completed inning—in this case, the sixth, with the Pirates up 5-2.

“It was a good comeback for us,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We swung the bats.”

The umpires planned to restart play at 11:15, about 25 minutes after the rain let up briefly. But it began raining heavily again about the time play was to start, with more lightning flashes, and the game was called.

Soriano, who signed a $136 million contract with Chicago as a free agent in the offseason, was coming off what he called the worst month of his career. But he needed only one at-bat in May to equal his RBI total in April—one—when he homered over the center-field wall on Tony Armas’ third pitch.

Soriano and Matt Murton each doubled in the seventh to drive in a run ahead of Floyd’s 451-foot drive that bounced into the Allegheny River behind the right-field seats for his second homer of the season.

“I was doing something to help us try to win, and at least I gave us the opportunity to try to win the game when we finish this,” said Floyd, who also signed with Chicago during the offseason.

The Cubs withstood a rough outing from Ted Lilly, who gave up three runs in the first while allowing only one ball out of the infield. Lilly also wound up on his backside twice while fielding bunts.

Tony Armas began the game with an 11.57 ERA to Lilly’s 2.18, but limited the Cubs to two runs in six innings—solo homers by Soriano on his third pitch of the game and Jacque Jones in the second. Armas left with a 5-2 lead, but the usually reliable Pirates bullpen couldn’t hold it in the seventh.

Murton had a pinch-hit double off John Grabow, and Soriano doubled off Jonah Bayliss, who gave up extra-base hits to three consecutive batters after not allowing any of his 10 inherited runners to score in April.

Back in the first, the bunt proved the Pirates’ key to a three-run inning. After Chris Duffy singled, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez each reached on bunt singles handled by Lilly, who slipped on the grass on Sanchez’s single and couldn’t make a play. He did the same thing an inning later, but managed to throw out Chris Duffy while sitting on the turf.

“Yeah, I think they kind of caught me off guard, and that’s something right out of the gate you got to be prepared for,” Lilly said. “I changed my spikes and everything was fine.”

After the two bunt singles, Ryan Doumit walked to force in a run, and shortstop Cesar Izturis threw the ball away for a two-base error on Jose Bautista’s force-play grounder as two runs scored. Bautista was credited with one RBI.

In the second, Ronny Paulino’s single, a sacrifice bunt and Jack Wilson’s sacrifice fly scored another run. Paulino hit his second homer of the season in the fourth.

Despite being unhappy with his pitching, Lilly allowed himself a moment of levity when Piniella came out to talk to him on the mound. Lilly mentioned the manager’s zipper was down.

“I thought I’d better help him out,” Lilly said. “I figured he might be on national TV.”

“I said, forget about my zipper,” Piniella said, suggesting Lilly concentrate on his pitching.

Pirates manager Jim Tracy and his players declined to talk with reporters after the game, saying they had nothing to say since the game had not been concluded.

Notes

The Pirates hadn’t had a game suspended since June 16, 1986, in St. Louis. The Cubs’ last suspended game was April 5, 1997. … Wilson, the Pirates’ shortstop, made an excellent backhand catch of Jones’ foul popup well down the left-field line in the seventh. … Derrek Lee, 12-for-32 with four homers against Armas, doubled and singled against the right-hander. Lee is one of only seven players in the last 50 years to double in seven consecutive games. … Floyd’s homer was the 21st, by 16 players, to reach the Allegheny River since PNC Park opened in 2001. All but one homer bounced into the river. … Lee has a 10-game hitting streak (19-for-44, .432).

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