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Pirates Beat Cubs Again; Starling Marte Injures Hand

The Bucs posted a 4-3 win today on a strong start by Paul Maholm (six innings, four strikeouts, no walks, two runs) and more good pitching from the bullpen, which has suddenly turned into the team strength it was supposed to be from the beginning of the season. (Octavio Dotel's ninth inning was an adventure thanks to another weird outfield shift that led to a triple down the line by Kosuke Fukudome, but Joel Hanrahan and D.J. Carrasco got the job done before Dotel.) The Pirates scored three runs off Ryan Dempster in the first, then added an insurance run on an impressive opposite-field homer by Jeff Clement. They only had six hits for the game but, yet again, they took advantage of walks--Akinori Iwamura and Andy LaRoche walked to start the game, and both ended up coming home.

Some very bad news from the minors: Starling Marte isn't playing because of a hand injury, and he may have to have surgery. Hand injuries can be very problematic for hitters, who sometimes struggle to hit for power after suffering one. Marte is one of the Pirates' best prospects and might have (or might have had) the most upside of any prospect in the system.