5/28 Maholm 10, Cubs 0

Randy Wells admitted he was a little anxious in his first start since April 4. The Cubs pitcher served up five runs on five hits and three walks over four innings in a 10-0 loss to the Pirates Saturday. He did strike out seven. But the guy who stole the show was Pirates lefty Paul Maholm, who threw a three-hit complete game.

“The guy’s a good pitcher,” Wells said of Maholm, who had received a total of 13 runs in his previous 10 starts. “He attacked, attacked, attacked and when we went on the attack, he started pitching out of the zone and we started chasing. That’s how you get guys to chase pitches and not from the start.”
 The good news for Wells is that he finished his outing healthy.

“Ninety pitches — see you in five days,” manager Mike Quade said.

But Maholm was the story.

“I think he’s the kind of guy who you have to capitalize on early because he’s throwing a lot of strikes,” Chicago’s Darwin Barney said. “When you get behind, it’s tough to be patient because he’ll pound the strike zone. His pitch count was so low because he’s in the zone. You’re trying to be aggressive in the game and make something happen and then you’re playing from behind, and it’s just a matter of trying to be patient and get his pitch count up and we couldn’t because he was throwing so many strikes.”

The Cubs dropped to 1-4 against the Pirates this year, 2-3 on the homestand.

“Guys are still confident and we still can turn this thing around,” Barney said. “We’re not pulling that flag yet. We’re going to come out tomorrow and hustle and work hard and hope we get to them early.”

 And after that, Barney headed to the batting cage for some extra hitting.

Extra bases:

* Alfonso Soriano has hit safely in his last nine games. He’s 12-for-34 (.353) in that run. … The Cubs gave up five runs in the fourth and now have served up five or more runs in one inning nine times this year. … The Cubs have been out-homered at home, 25-14. … Ryan Dempster (3-4, 6.29 ERA) closes the series Sunday against Jeff Karstens (3-3, 3.57 ERA).

— Carrie Muskat

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