The Pirates dropped another contest to the Cubs and Paul Maholm as he just absolutely shut down the Pirates in front of over 32,000 at PNC Park.
It really turned into be a pitchers dual for much of the first five innings and Maholm and James McDonald only each gave up solo home runs but the wheels kind of fell off for McDonald as he gave up a pair of runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
In the fifth It just got really bad. McDonald gave up a walk, an intentional walk set up runners at first and second with Maholm coming to the dish with two outs. McDonald walked Maholm on four pitches and then David DeJesus doubled down the right field line to give the Cubs the only others runs they needed. Just not what you want from your ace in a game where you probably should win.
Alfonso Soriano really put it out of reach in the sixth with a two run bomb off McDonald.
McDonald went six innings and struck out six but gave up the five runs which included two home runs. Like I said before he was really good through the first four innings but the game was really won when he walked Maholm to load the bases on four straight pitches. Just not what you want to do to a guy who has two hits all year. I think it was an improvement from his last two starts with him having a much better command of the strike zone but it still wasn't good enough against a team that isn't very good at swinging the stick.
The offense was just as bad as it was the past couple of games. I am not really sure what to take from this. Maholm was pretty good today but the Pirates just couldn't put the ball in play. The only ball that was hit hard was a Garrett Jones home run in the fourth inning but the Pirates never really put anything more together.
Tomorrow the Pirates will face Ryan Dempster who hasn't yet been traded so it is going to be tough going. Kevin Correia goes for the Pirates and if Dempster is anything like he has been this season then the Pirates are looking down the barrel of getting swept by the Cubs which would not be a good thing. Going 1-2 and going 0-3 against a team is a two game swing so the Pirates will need to get the win tomorrow. By no means is this a must win game but getting one of three wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.