The Chicago Cubs were left playing catch-up as the Pirates too the early lead. By the sixth inning, the Cubs had taken 4-3 lead. Carlos Marmol gave up two runs in the ninth, giving the Pirates the win.
Pedro Alvarez drive in two runs with an infield single off closer Carlos Marmol in the ninth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 5-4 victory Sunday over the Chicago Cubs to take two of three in the opening series of the season.
With the Cubs leading 4-3, Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones led off the ninth with a walk against Marmol (0-1) and Neil Walker singled before Lyle Overbay sacrificed to put runners at second and third.
Alvarez hit a slow roller to shortstop Starlin Castro. As Jones raced home, Castro’s throw to first pulled Carlos Pena off the bag and Walker rounded third. Pena threw to the plate, but Walker made a hard slide under Cubs catcher Geovany Soto to score the go-ahead run.
The Pirates won only four road series last season, two at Wrigley Field. Now they have another.
Jeff Karstens (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Joel Hanrahan the ninth for his second save, getting Marlon Byrd to hit into a game-ending double play after an error by Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno helped the Cubs put runners at first and third.
Pittsburgh’s rally prevented Matt Garza from getting a victory in his Cubs debut. He left with a 4-3 lead after allowing 12 singles and striking out 12 in seven innings.
Garza, who struggled this spring, was the Cubs’ major offseason acquisition, coming over in a trade from Tampa Bay after winning 15 games last season for the Rays in the tough AL East. He did not walk a batter.
Alfonso Soriano homered in the sixth against Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf to put Chicago up 4-3. The Cubs thought they had preserved that lead when right fielder Tyler Colvin made a strong throw to cut down a potential run in the eighth.
Ohlendorf gave up eight hits in six innings, including a tying double to Pena in the fourth when his high drive hit the ivy in right field and Jones couldn’t make a leaping catch as a fan’s drink splashed over the wall.
Lyle Overbay had an RBI single in the fifth to put the Pirates up 3-2. But Castro’s leadoff triple – his first of two three-baggers on the day after being moved into the leadoff role – and a sacrifice fly by Darwin Barney tied it in the bottom half.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases against Kerry Wood in the eighth but Colvin caught Jose Tabata’s medium fly and made a perfect throw to the plate to nail Jason Jaramillo for a double play to end the inning.
The Cubs had loaded the bases with no outs in the second on consecutive singles by Barney, Byrd and Aramis Ramirez.
As Jones leaped for Pena’s high drive, a fan who was hoping for a catch spilled his drink. The liquid splashed over the wall in Jones’ direction, the cup appeared to land in the basket just above the fence and Pena made second on the two-run double that tied the game at 2.
It was not immediately clear if the liquid distracted Jones in his attempt to catch the ball. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle went out to question the umpires for several minutes before returning to the dugout. Ohlendorf settled down, got two outs and after an intentional walk to Colvin loaded the bases, retired Garza on a roller to first to end the inning.
NOTES: Cubs manager Mike Quade said Carlos Zambrano was OK on Sunday, a day after the right-hander had to leave in the seventh inning with a hand cramp. Zambrano is expected to make his next start Friday when the Cubs begin a series in Milwaukee. Zambrano has had cramping issues in the past and had to start drinking more water while increasing his potassium intake. … Quade said Castro would return to second in the order Monday against the Diamondbacks. … Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen was scratched with a stiff neck after making a diving attempt Saturday at a ball off the bat of Zambrano.
Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.