PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Chicago Cubs have gotten two wins for the price of three during their first road trip of the season.
Felix Pie’s two-run single in the 15th inning allowed the Cubs to outlast the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 in a wild game Wednesday night. Chicago beat Pittsburgh 10-8 in 12 innings in the previous game Monday, meaning they have played 27 innings in two games.
“It doesn’t matter how many hours you play, it’s most important to win,” said Pie, whose hit to left off of Phil Dumatrait (0-1) with the bases loaded scored Ryan Theriot and Alfonso Soriano. “Everybody’s happy when you win.”
Twice the Pirates tied the Cubs with home runs to extend the game. Jason Bay hit his first of the season to lead off the ninth against Kerry Wood, who blew his first save. Adam LaRoche then broke out of an 0-for-25 slump by homering off of Kevin Hart (2-0) with Bay aboard in the 14th to tie the game at 4.
“It felt good,” LaRoche said,” (because) it put us back in the ballgame and set us another chance to win it.”
His shot came after ex-Pirate Aramis Ramirez had given the Cubs the lead with a two-run shot, his second, in the top of the inning. Ramirez had three hits and scored two runs.
For the second consecutive game, the Cubs used seven pitchers. The Pirates also used seven after employing eight on Monday.
“This is two games in a row where we’ve gone through just about everybody. But they have, too,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “They’ve been two tough ballgames and fortunately for us, we came out on top of both of them.”
Bay went 3-for-5 with a walk and two runs for Pittsburgh, which has lost four of five.
Sean Marshall, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Iowa, pitched the bottom of the 15th for his first career save.
“We battled hard,” said Marshall, who had started 43 of his 45 previous career games. “I’m glad it turned out the way it did, even though it was a long game.”
Former Cubs closer Ryan Dempster pitched seven innings in his second start in almost three years for Chicago, allowing one hit and only one Pirates baserunner to reach second. He walked two and struck out five, retiring 20 of the final 21 batters he faced.
Dempster had started only six games during his first four seasons with the Cubs. In a bit of irony, former starter Wood is a week and a half into his new role as a closer. Wood’s blown save cost Dempster his 61st career victory.
“You know the exact feeling (Wood) is going through,” Dempster said. “It’s hard for people to remember, especially in that situation in the ninth inning, that we’re not machines. We’re human beings, and things are going to happen. It’s frustrating when you lose, but hey, sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other guy too.”
Reed Johnson singled in Ronny Cedeno for the game’s first run in the third. Chicago’s second run came in the eighth on an error by Pirates reliever Franquelis Osoria, who couldn’t handle a flip from first baseman LaRoche after a ground ball.
Pirates lefty Zach Duke allowed seven hits, a walk and hit a batter in seven innings, but limited the Cubs to only one run.
On Monday, Pirates rookie Evan Meek walked five batters in the 12th, giving up two runs without allowing a hit. On Wednesday night, the team sent Dumatrait out for three innings and didn’t use Meek.
Dumatrait allowed four runs and three hits with four walks.
“It was tough game,” Duke said. “We battled and battled. Our bullpen kept us in it. They did everything that we could have asked them to, but they battled back in the end.”
The Indianapolis Indians of the International League will remain the Triple-A affiliate of the Pirates at least through the 2012 season. The Indians said Wednesday they had signed a four-year extension of their player development contract with Pittsburgh. … The Pirates have played four extra-inning games out of eight, going 2-2. … Duke had six strikeouts, the most he’s had in a game since May 19, 2006.