4/3 Pirates 3, Cubs 0
The Cubs wore face masks and extra layers to cope with the 35-degree cold, and overloaded the lineup with right-handed hitters in an attempt to deal with lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez and the weather won. Andrew McCutchen hit a RBI double and scored on an error by shortstop Starlin Castro to lead the Pirates to a 3-0 victory Wednesday over the Cubs.
The Cubs mustered two hits, and now are 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in two games. Said Dale Sveum: “We’ve got to get better than that.”
This was Edwin Jackson’s first loss to the Pirates in seven career starts, and not how he wanted his first Cubs start to go. With the loss, the Cubs have not opened a season 2-0 since the 1995 team began 4-0. Jackson tried to stay upbeat.
“The main thing is, you want to get the season jump-started in a positive direction,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t a bad game, it wasn’t the best game. You try to keep the team close.
“It’s a long season and you can help yourself out, getting ahead of batters a little earlier,” he said. “Wandy went out and pitched a good game. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat. He made pitches when he had to.”
The Cubs had a chance in the seventh. They loaded the bases with one out when Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch, Alfonso Soriano singled and Welington Castillo was plunked. Brent Lillibridge battled Rodriguez in a 10-pitch at-bat, which ended with the Cubs infielder called out on strikes on a curve.
“I couldn’t locate my fastball,” Rodriguez said. “[Catcher] Russell [Martin] came out and asked me what I wanted to throw, so I said, ‘Breaking ball, because I can’t locate the fastball.”
Said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle: “That’s a pro’s pitch. A kid isn’t going to throw that pitch. Maybe for a chase, but not for a strike.”
– Carrie Muskat