On Tuesday evening the Cubs sent former Pirate Paul Maholm to the mound to face his old teammates. The veteran lefty also had the task of following up the one hit gem by Jeff Samardzija the night before.
What Went Right: Maholm ended up being really close to providing an encore of Samardzija’s performance on Monday, tossing a solid game of his own. Maholm matched The Shark’s eight inning effort and tallied seven strike outs. He did allow one run on four hits, but his box score line exceeded the requirements of a quality start. The lefty starter now has won his last five starts to improve his record to 9-6. During his personal five game winning streak Maholm has only allowed three earned runs, over a span of 29 1/3 innings.
On the offensive side, it was good to see RBI from someone not named Alfonso Soriano, who carried the offense in the first game of the series. Starlin Castro hit his ninth home run of the season to get the scoring started, and a clutch bases loaded two out double down the line by David DeJesus broke up an one all tie and gave the Cubs the lead for good. Soriano made sure to not miss out on the offensive festivities by launching a homer of his own, a two run shot for his 19th of the season.
What Went Wrong: Tuesday night’s victory was more of a complete all around effort compared to the prior win, so trying to find a negative would almost be nit picking. However, after I complimented Carlos Marmol’s outing on Monday, it should be noted that his second appearance in as many days was not as dominating. The closer did allow a hit and a walk before inducing a game ending double play ground ball. To be fair though, it was a non save situation, a strange phenomena that usually sees closers at less than their best.
What Was Interesting: The Pirates entered the series with a 32-14 mark at home, the best in the Majors. That amazing record at PNC Park includes a three game sweep of the Cubs back in May. But in just two nights the visiting Cubs have taken back to back victories and in position to get revenge with a sweep of their own when they send ace Ryan Dempster to the mound today.