Sox overcome ejections,hold off Rays for 8th straight.

ST. PETERSBURG—The White Sox unexpectedly lost their starting pitcher in the fourth inning, and then went on to win their eighth straight game. Alexei Ramirez drove in two runs and the White Sox extended their season-best winning streak with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. Jose Quintana was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner with two outs in the fourth when he threw a pitch behind Ben Zobrist at knee level. Robin Ventura was also tossed by Wegner for arguing.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ventura said. “I don’t know how to explain it. I was shocked. Usually if the guy feels it [had] intent, he gives warning and it goes from there, but it just shocked me.”

Quintana, through a translator, said he was not throwing at Zobrist.

“I was going to throw a fastball, but A.J. [Pierzynski] asked him for a changeup and instead of crossing him over, I went through and it just slipped away,” Quintana said.

Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb (2-1) hit a pair of White Sox batters – Gordon Beckham during the first and Pierzynski in the third — during the game. Pierzynski was hit with a man on second and one out.

“I was just trying to get a fastball in, and yanked it a little bit,” Cobb said of the pitch that struck Pierzynski.

Pierzynski had made what Rays manager Joe Maddon called an awkward slide involving Zobrist in Tuesday night’s game.

“I didn’t ask for anything right there,” Maddon said.

Maddon said Wegner handled the situation well.

“When a pitcher throws behind somebody like that, it’s pretty obvious what their intent was regardless of the denials on the other side,” Maddon said. “I thought the home plate umpire did a great job, actually. That really stopped everything in its tracks.”

Dayan Viciedo had a run-scoring single and Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to help take a 3-1 lead in the third. Ramirez made it 4-1 with an RBI double in the fifth. Luke Scott and Carlos Pena homered for the Rays, who have lost nine of their last 13 games at home. Addison Reed worked out of trouble in the ninth for his sixth save. Pena drew a leadoff walk, with pinch-runner Rich Thompson advancing to second on Matt Joyce’s one-out single. Zobrist and Scott then both popped out to shallow left.Pena hit a two-run homer off Nate Jones (3-0) in the sixth. Alex Rios hit a first-inning RBI single. Tampa Bay tied it at 1 on Scott’s opposite-field homer to left in the second. Cobb worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second. After Alejandro De Aza hit a grounder and Beckham struck out, Adam Dunn hit a fly to center that B.J. Upton caught on the warning track. Quintana allowed one run and one hit in 3 2/3 innings. Cobb gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings.De Aza left in the sixth when he was hit near the right knee by the ball while diving back to second on J.P. Howell’s pick off attempt.

NOTES—Tampa Bay DH-LF Hideki Matsui was out of the lineup one day after homering in his Rays’ debut. He entered in the sixth and went 0 for 2…..Matsui will earn $615,519 from his contract with the Rays if he stays on the 40-man roster for the rest of the season. Matsui was put on the 40-man roster Tuesday,meaning he will earn 128 days of major league pay from the 183-day season. His contract lists an $880,000 salary while in the majors and a $250,000 salary while in the minors…..John Danks (strained left shoulder) threw at 60 feet on level ground and could rejoin the rotation early next week…..Brent Morel (lower back strain) is set to start a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

Barney game winning HR and key bases loaded walks allow Cubs to sweep Padres

Darwin Barney was running as hard as he could, hoping his ball would fall into the gap.Before he knew it, he had slowed down to a trot and a mob of teammates was waiting for him at home plate to celebrate his two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Cubs an 8-6 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.Barney launched an offering from Dale Thayer (0-1) into the left-center field bleachers to give the Cubs a three-game sweep.James Russell (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win. Carlos Quentin hit two homers and drove in four runs for the Padres. He had six extra-base hits and six RBI in the three-game series.

“I probably should have just drilled him or something,” Cubs starter Ryan Dempster said, though he wasn’t serious. “Really, looking back at it … Holy cow. Fastball in on the black, he hits a homer, then fastball three balls outside and he hits a homer.”

Chris Denorfia also hit a two-run homer for San Diego. The Cubs tied the game in the eighth when pinch-runner Tony Campana stole second and third with two outs and scored on Starlin Castro’s infield single.Campana, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday, has seen little action over the last week as manager Dale Sveum looks for bigger power numbers out of the position. The Padres came into the series last in the Majors with 18 homers as a team and hadn’t hit more than two in a game before hitting four on Monday.Denorfia put the Padres on the board with a two-run shot off Dempster in the second, his second homer of the season.Quentin followed suit in the third inning with a two-run blast to left-center, then went opposite-field in the fifth. It was his 15th career multihomer game.Quentin, acquired from the White Sox in the offseason, missed the first 49 games of the season due to arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He has six extra-base hits and six RBI in his first three games with the Padres as their cleanup hitter.San Diego starter Anthony Bass struggled with his control and couldn’t make it through five innings. He was pulled after walking in a run with two out in the fifth – his third walk of the inning. Miles Mikolas walked in another run in relief before Alex Hinshaw came on to end the inning.Bass was charged with five runs over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out two.Dempster lasted just 4 1/3 innings and remained winless in nine starts on the year. He gave up six runs — all on homers. He was pulled one batter after Quentin’s second shot. The Cubs bullpen combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings.In the second inning, Steve Clevenger knocked in a run with a single in his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list, then doubled in another run two innings later. He came up with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth but grounded out to second base.

Clevenger missed over a month due to a strained right oblique. He was 11 for 22 before going on the DL, and maintained a .500 average with a 2 for 4 day.

NOTES—Game time temperature was 59 degrees, a 31-degree difference from Monday’s 90-degree opener….Padres OF Cameron Maybin (sprained right wrist) played for the first time since leaving in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 9-0 loss to the New York Mets. Maybin pinch-ran for Quentin in the ninth….Huston Street (right shoulder strain) threw a high-intensity bullpen session on Wednesday. He is expected to make his first rehab appearance on Friday with Class A Lake Elsinore against the Racho Cucamonga Quakes…..Clayton Richard (2-6, 4.76 ERA) starts Friday for San Diego as the Padres a six-game homestand against Arizona. Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.62) will open a 10-game road trip for the Cubs on Friday in San Francisco.

Sox win 7th staright, explode in sixth against “Big Game James”

ST. PETERSBURG—Philip Humber didn’t match the performance in his previous win. Nearly impossible to do that.After more than a month without a win, though, he was still pretty happy.Humber won for the first time since throwing a perfect game in April, and the White Sox extended their winning streak to seven games by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Tuesday night.Hideki Matsui homered in his Tampa Bay debut. The Rays purchased the 2009 World Series MVP’s contract from Triple-A Durham before the game.Humber (2-2) was 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA over six starts since his gem against Seattle on April 21. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings Tuesday.Ramirez had an RBI double during a five-run sixth against James Shields (6-3) as the Sox took a 6-2 lead. A.J. Pierzynski, Viciedo and Orlando Hudson hit run-scoring singles, while Alejandro De Aza drove in a run with a grounder.

“We were able to get to him one inning,” said Adam Dunn, who started the sixth by drawing a walk. “Other than that, he shut us down. I know that we were going to have to really grind it out against him. He’s one of the best in the game, and anytime you get a guy like that and something kind of goes wrong, you need to take advantage of it.”

Shields gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.Matsui put the Rays ahead 2-0 on a long homer to right off a Humber fastball in the fourth. It was his first homer since Sept. 19 against Texas while with Oakland.Matsui, who turns 38 on June 12, started in left field. He played 13 games with Durham after signing a minor league contract with Tampa Bay on April 30.
The White Sox got to 2-1 in the fifth when Viciedo singled, went to third when Shields was charged with an error for an errant pickoff attempt and scored on Ramirez’s single.Viciedo hit a solo shot in the eighth. The White Sox have homered in 15 consecutive games.

“We just weren’t at the top of our game,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Paul Konerko went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts, to stop his 14-game hitting streak.

NOTES—Matsui got a nice ovation, with a few fans giving him a standing ovation, before his first at-bat. He finished 1 for 4…..Viciedo has driven in 12 runs in his last six games…..Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria (partial tear left hamstring) continues improving, but is at least a few weeks away from being ready for a minor league rehab assignment….Pierzynski has 12 RBIs over his last 12 games…..With the addition of Matsui, Tampa Bay DH Luke Scott could get some playing time at first base.

Keep playing San Diego! Cubs win second straight.

Jeff Samardzija had plenty of extra motivation on Tuesday. It was his own bobblehead day.Alfonso Soriano homered, Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings and the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Tuesday.Samardzija departed after Will Venable’s RBI triple with no outs in the eighth. Shawn Camp kept the lead intact, getting a comebacker, a lineout and escaping the inning on Carlos Quentin’s fly to left.

“The fact of the matter is Camp’s been probably our MVP up to this point,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

Soriano hit a solo homer to center field in the sixth. After going homerless in his first 30 games this season, Soriano has seven home runs in his last 13 games.James Russell got the last two outs for his first career save, a nice feat but his father Jeff, a longtime closer in the majors, saved 186 games in his career. Russell, who was mostly a starter in the minors, didn’t have a save at any professional level, but talked about the role like a grizzled veteran.Quentin homered and had three hits for San Diego. His drive deep into the left-field bleachers on the first pitch of the fifth was his first home run as a Padre.The Cubs won their second straight win after snapping a 12-game losing streak with an 11-7 win over San Diego on Monday. The Padres have lost five straight and eight of nine. San Diego dropped a game behind the Cubs for the worst record in the National League.Quentin singled and scored on John Baker’s hit in the seventh, but the Padres failed to tie the score when Samardzija struck out pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman with runners on second and third to end the inning.Eric Stults (1-1) took the loss despite his third straight solid outing. He allowed four runs, including an unearned one, in 6 1/3 innings. Stults has a 2.50 ERA since being claimed off waivers from the White Sox.Samardzija improved to 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in five starts at Wrigley, and looped a 3-2 pitch from Stults over a drawn-in infield to score Darwin Barney with the go-ahead run in the fifth.Samardzija worked around Stults’ leadoff double in the sixth, escaping when Soriano made a sliding grab in left to rob Chris Denorfia, then easily doubled Stults off second as he was already halfway between third base and home plate.Barney doubled into the left-field corner in fifth to score Reed Johnson, tying the game 1-all. Barney also doubled in the seventh. After being balked to third by Stults, he scored on John Baker’s passed ball.

NOTES—The Cubs activated C Steve Clevenger from the 15-day disabled list before the game, optioning C Blake Lalli to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Clevenger, who has been out since April 28 with a right oblique strain, will see the majority of action behind the plate. Regular backstop Geovany Soto is on the DL with a torn meniscus in his left knee….Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the day the Cubs made scout Buck O’Neil the first black coach in big-league history.

Former Rush Fullback Johnie Kirton dies at age 26. Scored 3 TD’s for S.Jose against the Rush Saturday night.

Chicago Sky

The word came out this morning that former Chicago Rush FB Johnie Kirton has passed away at age 26.
This is a complete shocker! I did play by play of the Rush game in San Jose Saturday night, Johnie looked like the same hard nosed RB we saw with the Rush last year. He was hard to tackle, and scored three key touchdowns against his former team. Then to hear this is awful and sad news.

We have learned that after attending a Sabercats team function Sunday, he went home, did not show up at a practice today,and they found his body in his apartment. Foul play has been ruled out.


Sale fans 15, Dunn two run homer, lead Sox past Rays 2-1

ST. PETERSBURG—Chris Sale nearly made White Sox history in a dominating victory.Sale struck out a career-high 15, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and the Sox extended its winning streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

“A special day … it was awesome,” said Sale, who is from nearby Lakeland. “It’s nice, especially growing up and being kind of a Tampa Bay Rays fan. My uncle brought me here to the first game. It was the day after my birthday.”

Sale (6-2) gave up one run, three hits and walked two in 7 1/3 innings while finishing one strikeout shy of the team record. Jack Harshman struck out 16 against Boston on July 25, 1954.

“I didn’t know what the record was,” Sale said. “That’s something I’m not really worried about. I knew I had quite a few there late in the game, but it’s the same thing just like any other day. You go out there and you try not to focus on all the external stuff that might get in the way of you doing your job.”

Sale struck out his 15th batter, Jose Molina, with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh. He retired his final batter, Rich Thompson, on a grounder to lead off the eighth.

“You know what, that guy could have punched out a lot of teams 15 times,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “His stuff was that good. The entire package, what he did, was good. A lot of awareness out there.”

The 15 strikeouts was the most ever by one pitcher at Tropicana Field.

“He’s special,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that’s what you’re seeing is him being able to kind of manage the game and go for a strikeout and get ahead and all of those things.”

After Jesse Crain got the final two outs in the eighth, Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his fifth save and complete a three-hitter. The Sox took a 2-1 lead during the sixth when Gordon Beckham singled and scored on Dunn’s 16th homer. Dunn has gone deep 11 times in May.

“You get some guys on and he can do a lot of damage,” Ventura said. “It was just one of those that he hits perfect, and he probably didn’t even feel it. He hit it that good.”

Matt Moore (1-5) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings for Tampa Bay. The left-hander, who given up 19 runs over 19 2/3 innings in his previous four starts, struck out 10 and walked one.The White Sox had scored at least nine runs in each of their previous four games.Paul Konerko, who had his average drop four point to .395, went 1 for 4. He flared an opposite-field single to right during the ninth that extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Ben Zobrist singled, stole second and scored to put the Rays up 1-0 on Jose Lobaton’s RBI single in the fourth. Lobaton was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. He was out since April 13 due to right shoulder soreness. Zobrist, playing in right field, took a hit away from A.J. Pierzynski in the second with a diving catch. Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts against Sale, and had his 10-game winning streak end.

NOTES—White Sox GM Kenny Williams doesn’t think John Danks, who is on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder strain, will need a minor league rehab start. Danks could rejoin the rotation around June 5….Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria (partial tear left hamstring) increased his agility and running program, and continues taking batting practice and fielding grounders….Williams said attendance could impact the White Sox at the trade deadline. “If you can’t monetarily make something work, sometimes you have to do it with a greater cost to your talent,” Williams said.The Sox are averaging 20,663 this season at home.

Cubs win homer battle from Padres,snap 12 game skid.

On a windy day at Wrigley Field, the fortunes finally blew in the Cubs’ favor. The Cubs stopped their 12-game losing streak, getting a boost from Alfonso Soriano’s go-ahead home run to beat the San Diego Padres 11-7 Monday.

“It’s a big relief,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “It shows you sometimes how tough it is to win a major league baseball game.”

The Cubs’ skid was their worst since they opened the 1997 season with 14 straight losses.

“I think now everybody is more relaxed,” Soriano said. “Now we have to keep doing our jobs and win some games.We have to turn it around. You have to believe in this team because we’re not that bad.”

The gusts were blowing out at 35 mph on a 90-degree afternoon and the ball was flying. There were eight home runs, including four by each team and two from San Diego’s Chase Headley, and a total of 17 extra-base hits. The Cubs trailed 7-6 in the sixth inning when Soriano launched a drive off Alex Hinshaw (0-1) over the right-field bleachers onto Waveland Avenue. Soriano had three hits and drove in three runs. Ian Stewart and Starlin Castro each homered and drove in three for the Cubs. Darwin Barney also homered and David DeJesus tripled twice.

“We haven’t had a game like that in a while where we have a lot of guys break out and get multiple hits, driving the ball,” said Stewart. “Losing that many in a row was getting old.”

Stewart also had a big day in the field, cutting down the potential game-tying run in the seventh when he threw out Headley trying to score on a grounder to third.Everth Cabrera and Will Venable connected for San Diego, which lost its fourth in a row. The Padres hadn’t hit more than two home runs in a game all season and came into the game last in the majors with only 18 overall. Headley had four hits, including a double.Randy Wells (1-1) picked up the win in relief.Barney hit a solo shot in the second and Stewart’s two-run shot capped a three-run fourth that put the Cubs ahead 6-4.Castro hit an 0-2 pitch onto Waveland to pad the one-run lead in the seventh.Headley hit a tying homer leading off the fourth, then tied it again with a two-run drive in the fifth.It was Headley’s second multihomer game of the year. He has seven home runs this season after hitting just four in 113 games in 2011.Carlos Quentin hit an RBI double in his Padres’ debut to give San Diego a 1-0 lead and snap their streak of 26 scoreless innings.Quentin was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in March after being acquired from the White Sox on Dec. 31.DeJesus got the Cubs going in the first with a leadoff triple and scoring on Castro’s single. Castro stole second and later scored on Bryan LaHair’s groundout. Cubs starter Travis Wood lasted just five innings. He was tagged for a season-high six runs on seven hits, including four home runs. San Diego starter Jeff Suppan yielded six runs over five innings.

NOTES—Cabrera’s solo shot in the fourth was his first homer since July 11, 2010…..The Padres optioned OF Blake Tekotte to Triple-A Tucson to make room on the roster for Quentin….Padres RHP Huston Street (right shoulder strain) felt “really good” after throwing off a mound Sunday, Black said. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Wednesday….The Cubs activated Carlos Marmol from the 15-day DL and optioned RHP Rafael Dolis to Triple-A Iowa…..Jeff Samardzija (4-3, 3.00 ERA) will pitch for the Cubs on Tuesday against San Diego’s Eric Stults (1-0, 1.96).

Konerko, Sox remaing blistering hot. Sweep Tribe.

Paul Konerko got a big milestone home run and the White Sox got a sweep of the only team between them and the AL Central lead.Konerko’s tiebreaking three-run homer was his 400th for the White Sox who routed the Cleveland Indians 12-6 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep. The White Sox have won five straight for the first time this season and nine of 10 overall. Konerko, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games, also came out for a curtain call after fans chanted “Paul-ie!” Paul-ie!” following No. 400.

“It’s probably the thing I’m proud of most, more than any numbers,” he said. “I’m proud of that one fact of just being here as long as I have.”

Drafted by the Dodgers in 1994, Konerko played in 55 games for Los Angeles and 26 for Cincinnati before coming to Chicago in a trade after the 1998 season.The 36-year-old first baseman hit 31 homers last season and 39 the year before that.

“He’s figured something out,” Gordon Beckham said of Konerko. “The last three years it just seems like he’s been unbelievable. It’s fun to run out on the field every day with him, that’s for sure.”

The Sox has homered in 13 consecutive games for the first time since 2006, and scored nine or more runs in four consecutive games. The White Sox haven’t accomplished that feat since June 27-30, 1938.In the fourth inning, Konerko battled back from an 0-2 count against Ubaldo Jimenez in the fourth inning and deposited the eighth pitch of the at-bat into the left-center field seats to give the Sox a 7-4 lead. Konerko finished with two hits and four RBIs, and raised his average to a majors-best .399.

“Paul Konerko is just a professional hitter and he has been for years,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “There’s only so much you can do. He’s a good one.”

Johnny Damon hit a three-run homer for the Indians, his first of the season, and Jimenez (5-4) struggled over four-plus innings. He gave up seven runs and seven hits, walked four and struck out three. Gavin Floyd (4-5) wasn’t much better. He allowed five runs on 10 hits over five-plus innings. He also hit three batters with pitches.The White Sox beat the Indians 14-7 on Saturday and 9-3 on Friday. They have scored 93 runs in their last 13 games.Jimenez (5-4) gave up seven runs in four-plus innings. He walked four and struck out three.

“Ubaldo didn’t throw enough strikes and had a tough time putting hitters away,” Acta said. “He gave up two-strike hits that really hurt him and just couldn’t locate his pitches.”

The Cleveland right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox. Floyd He has given up 21 runs over his last three starts, but the offense was able to bail him out this time. The Sox jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first. Konerko drove in the first run on a fielder’s choice after Jimenez loaded the bases with nobody out. Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez followed with RBI singles. Cleveland tied the game quickly in the second on Damon’s homer. Things could have been much worse for Floyd, who struck out three in a row after allowing the first five Indians to reach. Ramirez put the White Sox back in front with a two-out RBI single in the third, but Michael Brantley’s run-scoring single tied it again. Floyd again dodged trouble by turning a one-out comebacker into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. The White Sox tacked on three more in the fifth on back-to-back triples by Orlando Hudson and Alejandro De Aza. Dayan Viciedo drove in two with a bases loaded single in the ninth. Cleveland catcher Lou Marson was hit in the face by a pitch in the fourth inning and left the game in the fifth with what the team said was a bruise. Cleveland placed No. 1 catcher Carlos Santana on the 7-day disabled list Saturday after diagnosing a concussion. Juan Diaz led off the third with a single for the Indians, his first big league hit. He also singled and scored in the sixth.

NOTES—White Sox 3B Brent Morel (back) took batting practice Sunday and is hoping to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday with Triple-A Charlotte.. LHP John Danks (shoulder) played soft toss on Sunday and said his arm feels “better than it did a few days ago,” noting that he still feels some discomfort in the back of his arm.. Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera (tight left hamstring) will run and take batting practice on Monday. He hasn’t played since leaving Friday night’s game in the seventh inning.. Chris Sale (5-2, 2.50 ERA) pitches the series opener for the White Sox in Tampa Bay on Monday. Josh Tomlin (1-2, 4.67) will go for Cleveland against Kansas City.

One dozen for hapless Cubs who’ve been swept in four straight three game series.

PITTSBURGH—Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates can relate to what the Cubs are going through. Perhaps more than anyone, they know what it feels like to be on an extended losing streak — 12 in a row, in the Cubs’ case. The Pirates used that to their advantage Sunday.McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones homered, Erik Bedard pitched six shutout innings and the Pirates won 10-4, extending the Cubs’ longest skid in 15 years. Since McCutchen made his major league debut in June 2009, Pittsburgh has had 18 losing streaks of at least five games. The Pirates dropped 12 in a row during their 105-loss 2010 season.

“We’ve been there before, we know how it feels, so we knew if we were able to get on the board early, we pretty much would have them,” McCutchen said. “Just because we’ve been there. When you’re [struggling], and then you’re down early, it kind of knocks the breath out of you.”

Alvarez hit a three-run homer in the first, giving Pittsburgh a lead it would never relinquish. A six-run sixth gave the Pirates a 10-0 lead before the Cubs scored all of their runs in the final two innings.This is the Cubs’ worst slide since they started out 0-14 in 1997. Few of their losses during this streak were wipeouts — six were by one run, including the first two games of this series. Starlin Castro homered during a meaningless three-run eighth for the Cubs, who had scored only two runs in its previous 33 innings.

“We didn’t score, again, off the starter, so that magnifies everything,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “We didn’t muster up really anything today.”

Alvarez’s homer was Pittsburgh’s first this season with more than one man on. McCutchen added a solo shot in the fifth and Jones went deep to right with Neil Walker on in the fifth. Pittsburgh completed its first three-game sweep at PNC Park since Sept. 17-19, 2010. The lowest-scoring team in baseball, the Pirates set a season high for runs and matched a season high by winning their third consecutive game. Alvarez homered for the first time in 24 days in the first inning, taking a 3-1 pitch from Matt Garza (2-3) deep up into the elevated seats in right-center.McCutchen retied Alvarez for the team lead with his eighth home run, in the fifth inning. Jones snapped an 0-for-11 stretch when he pulled Garza’s final pitch deep into the right-field seats.That was only the beginning for the Pirates in their six-run sixth. Demoted from the closer’s role after losing Saturday night’s game when he hit Matt Hague with a pitch with the bases loaded, Rafael Dolis came in and walked both batters he faced. After Bedard sacrificed, pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez lined a single to center off Michael Bowden for his first hit and first two RBIs in the majors. Alvarez added a sacrifice fly and Walker an RBI single to give the Pirates 10 runs in a game for the first time since July 3, 2011.Bedard (3-5) allowed two hits. He had four walks and three strikeouts.After allowing five runs over a stretch of four starts, Garza has been tagged for a total of 13 over eight innings in his past two outings. He gave up five earned runs on seven hits, a walk and six strikeouts Sunday.

“It’s frustrating. The last couple have been frustrating,” Garza said. “I need to keep going and going hard. It’s going to turn — and it’s got to turn.

NOTES—The Cubs completed an 0-6 road trip during which they were not outhit in a game until Sunday……Pirates OF Jose Tabata was 2 for 3 before being removed from the game in the sixth inning due to discomfort and cramping in his left leg. He was to be further evaluated later Sunday and Monday…..Sveum said that either RHP Shawn Camp or LHP Jeff Russell would work in closing situations. Dolis has been scored on in each of his past five outings…..The Cubs return home for a three-game series against San Diego in a matchup of the NL’s two worst teams…..Pittsburgh continues a nine-game in which it is 4-2 when it faces NL Central-leading Cincinnati on Monday.

It’s 7th(in last 8 yrs) Women’s Lacrosse National Title for NU. Dynasty continues.

STONY BROOK, N.Y—A determined and driven Northwestern women’s lacrosse accomplished its ultimate goal and extended one of the most incredible dynasties in the history of college athletics, defeating No. 4 Syracuse, 8-6, Sunday night in Stony Brook to capture the program’s seventh national championship in the last eight years.The Wildcats received a go-ahead goal from Tewaaraton Award finalist Taylor Thornton to break a 6-6 tie with 9:55 remaining and protected its lead down the stretch, wrapping up a 21-2 championship season.Senior Shannon Smith took home her second straight NCAA Tournament MVP honor after a two-goal, two-assist performance in the championship game. Smith concludes her career with an NU record 254 goals and moved into second all-time in NCAA history with 58 points scored in NCAA Tournament play.

Jessica Russo scored the first goal of the night for NU and now can celebrate the 'Cats' seventh NCAA title in eight years.

Jessica Russo scored the first goal of the night for NU and now can celebrate the ‘Cats’ seventh NCAA title in eight years.