Cubs rout Pirates–trade Maholm,Johnson and Soto. More to come?

Don’t let this ‘false hot streak’ fool you. Cub Management is breaking it down despite another win. Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro homered during a nine-run fifth inning and the┬áCubs routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-4 Monday night in their highest-scoring game of the season.Rizzo and Darwin Barney hit three-run homers. Castro had a two-run shot and reached base four times as the Cubs won for the 11th time in their last 13 games at Wrigley Field.Rizzo’s drive off Erik Bedard (5-12) keyed the Northsiders biggest burst of the year. On Sunday, his 10th-inning homer beat St. Louis.Rizzo leads all NL rookies with a .330 average, eight homers and 20 RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on June 26. The Cubs have gone 18-10 since he joined the team.Justin Germano (1-1) held Pittsburgh to two runs over five innings in his first start since Oct. 3, 2010. He picked up his first win since Aug. 28, 2007, when he beat Arizona as a member of the San Diego Padres.Barney dropped a throw when trying to make a pivot on a double play, allowing the Pirates to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth, an uncharacteristic defensive miscue for a player who completed his 88th straight errorless game at second base. Barney was not charged with an error on the play because he got the out at second.Barney made up for it in the bottom half, tagging Bedard for his first career three-run homer, a shot deep into the bleachers in left-center field. Barney also tripled, drove in a career-high four runs and scored three.Pinch hitter David DeJesus had a two-run single during the fifth-inning surge. Castro capped it with his 10th homer of the season, a shot to deep center field.Bedard allowed nine runs, matching a career worst and his 12 defeats give him the most in the majors. The Cubs have beaten eight of the last nine lefty starters they’ve faced.Rookie Starling Marte had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates and Mike McKenry drove in two runs.

NOTES—The Cubs have traded outfielder Reed Johnson and left-handed starting pitcher Paul Maholm to the Braves, the Cubs announced early Tuesday morning. In return, the Cubs get pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.Word of the trade first started to circulate when those watching Monday night’s game noticed Johnson was hugging teammates after being removed, as if he was saying bye. It turns out, he was. Maholm’s involvement wasn’t as transparent, since he wasn’t pitching Monday.Maholm, 30, is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings this season. He’s been on fire of late, though, as he is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last seven starts.Johnson, 35, is hitting .302/.355/.444 with three homers, 16 RBI and 23 runs scored in 183 plate appearances this season. He’s been a great fourth-outfielder for the Cubs and can play all three outfield spots…Catcher Geovany Soto has also been traded, to the Rangers for minor-league pitcher Jacob Brigham.Soto left Monday night’s Cub game also hugging teammates as if to say goodbye, and it turns out he was.Soto, 29, is hitting .199/.284/.347 with six homers and 14 RBI this season. He was the NL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2008. He hit .285/.364/.504 with 23 homers, 86 RBI and 35 doubles that season. He’s been up and down since, as he was bad in 2009, really good in 2010 and decent last season.The Rangers aren’t really hurting for catchers, with Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba already on the roster. That being said, Napoli can serve as the designated hitter or play first base, so there’s some added flexibility — which is especially needed with Michael Young having such a bad season. Also, this could well mean the end of the line for Torrealba with the Rangers.It is worth noting that Soto has been swinging the bat well of late. He’s hitting .298 with three doubles, a homer and five RBI in his past 14 games.Brigham, 24, is 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 116 strikeouts in 124 innings for Double-A Frisco this season.Soto is still in his arbitration years and won’t be a free agent until after the 2013 season…Ryan Dempster is slated to start the second game of the series for the Cubs though he continues to be the subject of trade rumors. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he would be “surprised” if Dempster was still with the team after Tuesday’s trade deadline. The Cubs will have a minor league pitcher travel to Chicago as a contingency to a Dempster transaction. … Another subject of trade rumors, Matt Garza threw a bullpen session on Monday that Sveum said went “extremely well.” Garza is expected to return to action later this week. His last start was pushed back because of cramping in his right arm. … Pirates manager Clint Hurdle celebrated his 55th birthday on Tuesday.

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