Cubs
Pirates
4 - 7 Final
  for this game

Pirates sink Cubs with four-run eighth

Jul 9, 2011 - 6:25 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Michael McKenry belted a three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates earned a dramatic 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game set.

With two-out, McKenry fell behind 0-2, then fouled off five pitches before sending his first major-league home run into the left-field bleachers.

Josh Harrison preceded the blast with a game-tying RBI single, as the Pirates won for the fifth time in seven games.

Daniel McCutchen (3-1) recorded the final out of the eighth to pick up the win. Joel Hanrahan earned his 26th save of the season, setting a club record for most saves before the All-Star break.

The Pirates now sit just one game behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee and have guaranteed themselves a winning record at the All-Star break for the first time since 1992.

Sean Marshall (5-3) and Carlos Marmol were each charged with two runs in the eighth, as the Cubs fell for the sixth time in eight games.

"The entire innings it was a grind, it was a reach and our guys were able to reach down and get some runs off of two of the better pitchers in the bullpen in the National League in Marshall and Marmol," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

Chicago took a brief lead in the top of the frame, as Marlon Byrd worked a one-out walk and moved to third on Alfonso Soriano's double. Darwin Barney then slapped a single between third and short, breaking a 3-3 tie.

Undaunted, the Pirates placed men on first and second with two down, as Neil Walker reached on a force out and Lyle Overbay singled to left. Marmol relieved Marshall only to allow Harrison's game-tying single to center and McKenry's memorable blast.

The back-and-forth contest began with a bang, as Aramis Ramirez spotted the Cubs an early lead with a two-out, solo shot in the first.

In the third, Alex Presley's single and Chase d'Arnaud's double placed runners in scoring position. After a Garrett Jones pop out, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.

Walker followed with a grounder up the middle. Barney cut the ball off before it reached the outfield, but his one-hopper to first was a tad late, as Walker stumbled in with an infield single and two runs crossed the plate.

In the sixth, Ramirez was hit by a pitch and Byrd ripped a two-out double to place runners at second and third. Chris Resop spelled James McDonald and left a 1-1 fastball over the plate, which Soriano belted into the gap in left- center. Both Ramirez and Byrd crossed the plate, giving Chicago a 3-2 lead.

In all, McDonald was charged with three runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

A half inning later, Andrew McCutchen erased the margin with one swing of the bat, belting a leadoff homer into the seats in right-center, setting up the late-game dramatics.

"You have to give a lot of credit to them because they played very good tonight," Soriano said of the Pirates. "We played good, but not good enough."

Game Notes

Chicago starter Rodrigo Lopez lasted six innings, allowing thee runs on eight hits...The Pirates are now 46-42. They were 30-58 after 88 games last season...Walker has hit safely in all 16 of his career games against the Cubs...Hanrahan broke Mike Williams' club record for most saves before the All-Star break...Ramirez has 10 home runs in his last 16 games.






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  • Xavier Paul grounded out first to pitcher to end the inning.

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  • Josh Harrison singled in Neil Walker with two out. On the play, Lyle Overbay advances to second. Runners on first and second with Michael McKenry due up.

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  • Darwin Barney singled in Marlon Byrd with one out. On the play, Alfonso Soriano advances to third. Runners on first and third with Kerry Wood due up.

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  • Andrew McCutchen lead-off Home Run (13) to center. Neil Walker due up.

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  • Alfonso Soriano doubled in Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd with two out. Runner on second with Darwin Barney due up.

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  • Neil Walker singled in Alex Presley and Chase d`Arnaud with two out. On the play, Andrew McCutchen advances to second. Runners on first and second with Lyle Overbay due up.

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  • Aramis Ramirez two-out, solo Home Run (15) to right. Carlos Pena due up.

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