UFC 190:

Wood dominates as Cubs drop Pirates 3-2

AP - Sports
Wood dominates as Cubs drop Pirates 3-2

View gallery

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol, left, celebrates with catcher Dioner Navarro after getting …

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Carlos Marmol remains the closer for the Chicago Cubs until further notice.

At the rate the volatile right-hander is going, further notice might arrive before the end of the weekend.

The Cubs rode six strong innings from Travis Wood to edge the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Thursday, a victory Marmol nearly gave away.

Looking to bounce back from a shaky performance on opening day - when he was pulled after retiring just one of the three batters he faced - Marmol again made things in the ninth.

Nate Schierholtz gave the Cubs a healthy cushion with a two-run homer in the top of ninth against Pittsburgh reliever Jared Hughes. The Cubs ended up needing every last inch of it.

Starling Marte singled and Russell Martin walked to Pittsburgh's start final at-bat. Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez followed with consecutive run-scoring singles. Still, Chicago manager Dale Sveum stuck with Marmol and he responded by whiffing Pedro Alvarez on three pitches then getting Neil Walker to ground sharply to second base, allowing the Cubs to turn the double play.

''It does feel good, when you've been struggling and give up a base hit and walk people, to strike out one guy and get a groundball, it feels great,'' Marmol said.

Sveum insists Marmol will continue to get the ball in the ninth, pointing out Marmol wasn't exactly steady last year while picking up 20 saves.

''For the most part we know things like that can get interesting with him,'' Sveum said. ''But he got out of it again.''

The high-wire act allowed the Cubs to take an opening series for the first time in four years, an important step for a team looking to catch up to the rest of the NL Central.

''Could have been 0-3 really but it was nice,'' Sveum said. ''We won both ballgames we were ahead in.''

The Cubs were ahead thanks in large part to Wood, an X-factor for a team trying to make inroads on the rest of the NL Central.

The left-hander struck out four and walked two. He also scored the game's first run, racing home on Starlin Castro's single in the third inning.

''I had good fastball command, I was able to locate it both sides and keep them off-balance,'' Wood said.

The loss spoiled a stellar season debut for Pittsburgh starter James McDonald. The right-hander gave up just two hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking two.

McDonald's start provided a welcome return to form for the enigmatic 28-year-old, who nearly made the All-Star team last season before stumbling during a bumpy second half. He went just 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA after the July break as the efficiency that led to his breakout first half vanished.

There were no such problems on a chilly 45-degree afternoon. His only hiccup came in the third. Wood singled with one out, moved to second on a groundball then scored on Castro's single to center field.

''He went out and he pitched a gem,'' McCutchen said. ''You hate for guys to go out like that, go seven strong innings and get the loss but hopefully he can continue to do that and the bats will come around.''

The hit marked the first by the Cubs with a runner in scoring position this season, ending an 0-for-13 start.

After Marmol survived a hectic ninth, Wood improved to 4-1 in his career at PNC Park.

The Pirates simply couldn't get going. Clint Barmes was stranded at second in the third inning following a one-out double off Wood, the only base hit Wood allowed all day. He retired 10 straight at one point to give the Cubs an early boost, handcuffing Pittsburgh all afternoon.

Chicago didn't run into trouble until after Wood gave way to Shawn Camp in the seventh. McCutchen reached on an error then stole second and third.

Reliever James Russell, however, struck out Neil Walker looking and the Pirates wasted a golden opportunity in the ninth as the Cubs improved to 2-1 for the first time since taking two of three from Houston to open the 2009 season.

''It's nice to start on the road to win two of three against a good team and three good starting pitchers,'' Sveum said. ''That's a good start.''

NOTES: Pirates RHP Charlie Morton threw 28 pitches during a simulated spring training game at the team's complex in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday without issue. Morton is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and is out until at least late May. ... Sveum says he's in no hurry to see the National League adopt the designated hitter. Cubs general manager Theo Epstein said recently he could see the NL adopting it at some point. ... The Cubs play in Atlanta on Friday. Scott Feldman will start for Chicago against Mike Minor. ... The Pirates begin a six-game road trip in Los Angeles on Friday. Jonathan Sanchez will face Zack Greinke.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (83)

Recommended for You

  • Rousey crushes Correia to defend her title at UFC 190

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It's not a good idea to give Ronda Rousey some extra motivation.

    Associated Press36 mins ago
  • Marshall back on field but with a heavy heart

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Brandon Marshall is back on the football field, trying to replicate last year's breakout season despite two screws in his right foot and a heavy heart.

    Associated Press
  • Undefeated Garcia stops Malignaggi in 9th round

    Danny Garcia and Paulie Malignaggi were both looking to the future - with vastly different visions. Garcia stopped Malignaggi in the ninth round of their welterweight fight Saturday night at Barclays Center to remain undefeated. Malignaggi dropped to 33-7.

    The Associated Press
  • WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper dies at 61

    ''Rowdy'' Roddy Piper, the kilt wearing trash-talker who headlined the first WrestleMania and later found movie stardom, died Friday. Piper's death also comes days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE. Hogan had used racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex…

    The Associated Press
  • UFC 190 Results: Demian Maia Dominates, Ends Neil Magny's Streak at Seven

    Welterweight contenders Neil Magny and Demian Maia had the same goal at UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro: to win. Magny, however, put a seven-fight winning streak on the line heading into the fight. For Maia, he was looking to get his mojo back.

    MMA Weekly
  • Merritt, Chappell share lead, Tiger slips back

    (Reuters) - Americans Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell, both looking for their first PGA Tour wins, shared a one-shot lead after Saturday's third round of the Quicken Loans National, while tournament host Tiger Woods fell from contention. Merritt set an early target with a course record 10-under-par…

  • Seahawks finalize contract extension with LB Bobby Wagner

    Right on the heels of signing quarterback Russell Wilson to a contract extension, the Seattle Seahawks have locked up All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks and Wagner finalized a four-year contract extension on Saturday night, making sure Seattle keeps Wagner beyond the 2015 season…

    The Associated Press
  • Jack Beckman has quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history

    Jack Beckman powered to quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history Friday night in qualifying for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Beckman finished with a record time of 3.921 seconds at 323.43 mph in a Dodge Charger. ''We're in a wonderful position right now,'' said Beckman, who will earn a 20-point bonus…

    The Associated Press
  • Fighter Ronda Rousey Knocks Out Critics Who Call Her Masculine

    “I think it’s hilarious if someone says my body looks masculine or something like that,” Rousey said. Earlier this month, Rousey won the ESPY Award for best fighter—beating out four men in the process.

  • Padres inquired about Paul Goldschmidt in trade talks for Craig Kimbrel

    Padres GM A.J. Preller swings for the fences in trade talks with Arizona.

    Big League Stew
    Sun, Aug 2
    1:10 PM EDT
    San Diego at Miami
    Preview Game
  • ESPN Analyst Chris Mortensen Cancels Boston Radio Interview in Wake of Deflategate Outcry

    ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen was not keen to enter enemy territory on Friday. The NFL expert was scheduled to appear on Boston radio talk show “Dennis & Callahan” on WEEI to discuss his January report about the New England Patriots that was later debunked, according to multiple media outlets. “You…

    The Wrap
  • Kyle Busch wins again, taking checkered flag at Pocono

    LONG POND, Pa. (AP) -- The NASCAR series make little difference to Kyle Busch. The hottest driver in the sport always finds a way to victory lane.

    The Associated Press
  • More injury heartbreak for Broncos receiver Williams

    Kyle Williams' NFL hard luck continued on Saturday as the Denver Broncos wide receiver said he would miss the 2015 season after an Achilles tendon injury at training camp. Williams was carted off the practice field in Denver after he was injured while returning a punt during special teams practice.…

  • Big Ten mandates Power 5 foe, no FCS opponents in 2016

    The Power Five requirement is similar to what the ACC and SEC have installed for 2016.

    Dr. Saturday
  • Warriors acquire Jason Thompson from 76ers for Wallace

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors have acquired forward/center Jason Thompson from the Philadelphia 76ers for forward Gerald Wallace, the player they had just received from Boston in the David Lee deal.

    The Associated Press
  • Stars collide: Mike Trout meets J.J. Watt in Houston

    What happens when unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Apparently they take batting practice.

    Big League Stew
  • Melvin Gordon tested at Chargers camp

    Running back Melvin Gordon was tested - and Chargers coach Mike McCoy was smiling. ''The defense did a nice job a couple of times there where he had to do something.'' McCoy said. Gordon, the Chargers' top pick from Wisconsin, often broke free for yardage Saturday in the training camp practice.

    The Associated Press