Bucs pile on runs to complete the sweep
Burres the beneficiary of Pirates' onslaught over Cubs
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' scuffling offense came to life and Pittsburgh posted an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in front of 11,085 fans on Thursday night at PNC Park.
"It was nice to get out and get ahead and add on a few more," Pirates manager John Russell said.
The win was the third in a row for the Pirates, who got an outstanding start from lefty Brian Burres.
"Burres did a good job in that game," Russell stated. "He kept the ball down and mixed all his pitches. Sometimes those games aren't the easiest games to pitch, and he kept his focus and gave us a very strong outing."
Burres cut off his shoulder-length hair prior to his last start and responded with 5 1/3 scoreless innings and followed it up with this gem.
"I don't know if the hair is doing it," Burres joked. "But it happened to be at the same time I cut my hair."
"All four of my pitches were OK today," Burres explained. "I felt comfortable throwing them pretty much anytime and had the sinker going for most of the game."
Burres, who's making a bid to stay in the starting rotation when Ross Ohlendorf returns on Monday, notched the win to up his record to 2-1.
"He's shut down two pretty good offensive clubs," Russell said. "The way he's throwing the ball, I think he deserves every right to be able to continue to pitch for us. We've got to look at how the rotation sets up with Ohlendorf coming in, but Burres has done a great job for us, especially the last two games."
Burres hopes he stays in the rotation.
"I'd hope so," he offered. "Right now I've just got to try and wait for the next one and go out and help the team win again."
Cubs starter Randy Wells was tagged with the loss, falling to 3-1 on the season. The right-hander, who had pitched at least six innings in his five previous starts, lasted only two frames and surrendered seven runs (six earned) on five hits. He issued three walks.
The Pirates jumped on Wells for five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones delivered RBI singles. Ryan Doumit clubbed an RBI double and Lastings Milledge stroked a two-run double to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead.
Pittsburgh upped its lead to 7-0 in the second inning on a two-run double into the right-field corner by Jones.
The Pirates' onslaught continued in the fourth inning against Cubs right-hander Jeff Gray. Doumit picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice. Milledge thought he had hit a home run, but was tagged out and credited with a two-run double. Ryan Church also scored on an error.
"It's hard to tell if the ball was out," Russell said. "I think he might have gotten fooled by the music and the fireworks that were going off. It was unfortunate, you don't like for things like that to happen in a game, but it did and I thought he handled it pretty well."
Milledge wound up with a four-RBI night and that put a smile on Russell's face.
"We took him out and worked with him on a couple of things," Russell explained. "It was good to see him take it into the game and he's starting to get the bat to the ball a little more direct and not his front side. He's using his legs a little better and he's capable of driving the ball when he stays within himself."
The Cubs broke through with a run in the top of the eighth against reliever Javier Lopez. Marlon Byrd doubled and scored on Xavier Nady's RBI double.
The Pirates swept the Cubs in a three-game series for the first time since August of 2006. It's only the second time that the Pirates have swept the Cubs in a series in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001.
"That's what we're capable of doing," Russell said. "If we pitch, I feel like we've got a great opportunity to win, and we've won a lot of close games because of our pitching, and tonight our offense woke up a little bit.
"If you're going to sweep a team like Chicago, you've got to pitch and play defense, and we did a nice job with that. Going into the last game you are looking for a sweep, and it's nice to offensively just put it away."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.