Looking to end a long road losing streak, the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the perfect place Monday night: Wrigley Field.Paul Maholm pitched a season-high eight innings, Jose Tabata hit a go-ahead double in the ninth and Pittsburgh ended a 17-game skid away from home with a 2-1 win over the Cubs. The last time the Pirates won on the road was May 25 in a 2-1 victory at Cincinnati. It was their third win in 21 games overall.The Cubs, in the middle of their own turmoil, have been handled all season by the worst team in the National League. They dropped to 2-8 against Pittsburgh this season and are 10 games below .500.Maholm (5-6) allowed one run and seven hits. He did not walk a batter.Octavio Dotel hit Aramis Ramirez with a pitch leading off the ninth but rebounded for his 15th save in 18 chances.Before the game, Carlos Zambrano was placed on the restricted list and the Cubs expect to be without the hot-tempered pitcher until at least the All-Star break.Zambrano has been suspended by the team without pay for the past three games, after he threw a tirade in the dugout Friday that led to a verbal confrontation with teammate Derrek Lee.
“Beginning Wednesday, Carlos will undergo a treatment program with mutually agreed upon doctors from the Players’ Association and Major League Baseball,” general manager Jim Hendry said Monday. “Basically, he will have to follow the treatment for his issues and be evaluated properly, and if the program is acted on properly in accordance to what the doctors they signify he needs to work on and improve on, and follow their directives, Carlos will not be reinstated any time until after the All-Star break.”
Hendry said Zambrano and his agent have not asked for the right-hander to be traded or released. Zambrano is in the middle of a $91.5 million, five-year contract extension he signed in August 2007.
“I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad Carlos is going to get some professional help,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
On an unseasonably cool summer night with the wind blowing in at Wrigley, both teams struggled to get anything going until Ryan Doumit led off the ninth with a single off reliever Andrew Cashner (0-2).After a sacrifice bunt by former Cub Ronny Cedeno, Cashner walked pinch-hitter Ryan Church. Piniella brought in Carlos Marmol, who was greeted by Tabata with a double over the head of center fielder Tyler Colvin, who moved from right field after a double switch.Doumit, who didn’t slide at the plate, just beat the throw to score the go-ahead run.With Zambrano suspended, the Cubs were already down a pitcher before reliever John Grabow left the game in the seventh with a sprained left knee.Pirates right fielder Lastings Milledge and second baseman Bobby Crosby collided while chasing Soto’s bloop double in the second inning. Crosby was checked by a trainer, but stayed in the game temporarily before leaving in the bottom of the third with concussion-like symptoms. He is day to day.Starlin Castro followed with a routine grounder to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who tried to throw out Ramirez at the plate. But the poor, one-hop throw got by Doumit, allowing Ramirez to score the only Cub run.With two outs in the third, Andrew McCutchen hit a liner toward Colvin in right. Colvin had a chance to make the catch but took a bad route as the ball got by him and rolled to the wall. Tabata scored on the triple to tie it at 1.Marlon Byrd made a diving catch in center on Garrett Jones’ drive, stranding McCutchen.The Cubs had a chance to take the lead in the seventh with first and third and one out, but Ryan Theriot ended the inning with a double play.Cubs starter Randy Wells allowed one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked four.
NOTES—In the first inning, second base umpire Jerry Meals called Theriot out at second base on a force play even though Cedeno wasn’t close to stepping on the bag. Cedeno unsuccessfully tried to turn a double play on Colvin’s ball. Despite the blown call by Meals, Piniella and Theriot never argued……With a brief ceremony before the game, the Cubs saluted radio analyst and former third baseman Ron Santo, two days after the 50th anniversary of his major league debut…..Brian Schlitter replaced Grabow and struck out two in his big league debut.