PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 27: Garrett Jones #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Michael McKenry #55 after hitting a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs during the game on May 27, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The fun started in the first inning, when the Pirates got some help on a Cubs error to get two men on for Pedro Alvarez, who golfed a Matt Garza pitched to deep right-center for a three-run homer, his first blast since May 3. Andrew McCutchen made it 4-0 with a solo shot in the fifth
The floodgates really opened in the sixth, as Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer, and then the Cubs brought in our friend Rafael Dolis, the reliever who gave up the walk-off HBP to Matt Hague on Saturday. Dolis promptly walked Hague and Michael McKenry. Michael Bowden entered after that, and gave up a two-run single to Gorkys Hernandez (who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter when Jose Tabata went down with leg cramps) for Hernandez' first big-league hit.The Pirates got two more runs later that inning, on an Alvarez sacrifice fly and a Neil Walker RBI single.
Erik Bedard walked four batters but pitched six scoreless innings. Chris Resop then came on to pitch garbage time and allowed three runs, two on a homer by Starlin Castro. I'm not sure why Juan Cruz came on to pitch the ninth with a seven-run lead, given that the Pirates are supposed to be concerned about his appearance totals and that he just pitched on Friday, but anyway, he gave up a run as well. Obviously, none of that mattered a whole lot.
The Pirates are now 23-24 heading into a series against a much better team in the Reds. The Cubs are in a serious funk right now, but the Bucs deserve credit for being able to kick a bad team while it's down -- these weren't automatic wins, but the Pirates managed to get all three of them. They now enter a stretch of nine more games against divisional opponents, with six games coming against the first-place Reds and three against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Hopefully, this will be the year that the Pirates stop completely falling apart every time they enter Miller Park. Interleague play starts against the Royals after that.