Marmol gives up six in the 9th as Cubs again lose to lowly Astros. Waste gem by Zambrano

Carlos Marmol blew his third save of the season, allowing six runs in the ninth inning as the Houston Astros beat the Cubs 7-3 on Tuesday night.Without question, the Cubs worst loss of this two month old season so far. Robinson Cancel’s pinch-hit, two-run double tied the game and Michael Bourn singled in the go-ahead run off Marmol (1-2). Hunter Pence added a three-run shot for the Astros.Jordan Lyles tossed seven brilliant innings in his Major League debut, but committed a throwing error in the eighth which cost him a chance to earn his first big league victory.Fernando Rodriguez, Jr. (1-0) worked 1/3 of an inning to earn his first career win.

Sox beat up Aceves, hold on against Boston 10-7

BOSTON—Alexei Ramirez tied his career high with four hits, and Philip Humber stymied Boston for seven innings Tuesday night to lead the White Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Red Sox. It was the Southsiders sixth straight win at Fenway Park, its longest streak here since the “Go Go” Sox era of 1958-59. Humber (4-3) scattered six hits in the first seven innings before giving up three more in the eighth as Boston cut the deficit to 10-5. In all, Humber was charged with four runs while walking one and striking out five in 7 2/3 innings — the first time in seven starts he has allowed more than three runs. Chris Sale came on in the ninth after Boston cut the deficit to 10-7 and struck out Adrian Gonzalez looking on three pitches earn his second save. Alfredo Aceves (2-1) lost for the first time in more than two years, allowing eight runs — six earned — on eight hits and three walks while striking out one. He had won 12 consecutive decisions for the Yankees and Red Sox in what had been the longest active streak since CC Sabathia in 2008. But the White Sox scored four runs in the second, including a two-run single by Ramirez. He also singled and scored when they scored four more in the sixth to chase Aceves and make it 10-1. Ramirez had three RBI while recording his second four-hit game in nine days. He also had the game-winning hit in the series opener Monday night, a two-run double that broke a sixth-inning tie. Gordon Beckham had three hits for the White Sox, who have won two straight against Boston after losing four of their previous five games. Despite their three-game losing streak, the Red Sox are 19-10 in May — the best record in the American League over the month. Adrian Gonzalez had 42 hits and 31 RBI in the month, the first Red Sox player to top 40 and 30 in May, respectively, since Jim Rice in his AL MVP year of 1978. Jason Varitek had three hits, including his second homer of the season. After Boston scored one more in the eighth on three hits off the Green Monster off Humber, Will Ohman relieved him and gave up a three-run homer to David Ortiz that made it 10-5. Ohman got Mike Cameron, a defensive replacement for Carl Crawford, on a fly ball to right to end the inning. The Red Sox got two more in the ninth when Jed Lowrie walked, Varitek singled and, after Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly, Drew Sutton hit a high flyball that right fielder Brent Lillibridge couldn’t get at the Pesky Pole.Sale came on and got Gonzalez on three straight pitches to end the game.

NOTES—Crawford was out on an odd double play in the fifth, when he tried to steal second but had to turn back when Lowrie popped it up to center. The problem: Crawford had already taken a step toward third, and he didn’t touch second on his way back. … The Red Sox moved up the starting time of Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics to 1:10 p.m. from 7:10 p.m. so that fans will be able to also watch the Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals. The hockey game between the Bruins and the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Eastern time. … The White Sox have won 12 of its last 14 at Fenway. During one stretch in 1958-59, the White Sox won seven in a row in Boston. … The Red Sox activated RHP Bobby Jenks from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Michael Bowden to Triple-A Pawtucket. Jenks pitched a scoreless inning in relief. … Boston SS Marco Scutaro (side) has been cleared to resume baseball activities. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka went for a second opinion on his injured right elbow. … Red Sox RHP John Lackey made a rehab start in Pawtucket and allowed one run on three hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out four. He threw 63 pitches. … Aceves won his last 10 decisions with the Yankees before signing with Boston in the offseason. He made 54 relief appearances and four starts since.


Tressel resigns under fire at Ohio State

COLUMBUS—This was a good start, but that’s all it was for Ohio State. A start. Jim Tressel resigned Monday, but that’s not enough to save Ohio State from the NCAA’s hammer. Nor should it be.Had it happened in January, then sure. That would have been enough. Jim Tressel’s resignation in January — when Ohio State first learned of his deception — would have been enough to shelter Ohio State from its former coach’s behavior.This is one of those times when the teacher’s punishment must send a message to everyone else in the classroom. Ohio State must get sent to the principal’s office — a place without 85 annual scholarships, without years of postseason eligibility, possibly without games on television at all — or some other kid in class will assume that Ohio State’s reaction to the Jim Tressel situation was acceptable.And it was not acceptable. The coach knew of violations. Didn’t tell his boss or the NCAA. Lied to both when asked directly about them. Then played all those ineligible players all season, making a run at the national championship game before settling for a conference title and a spot in the Sugar Bowl.And the school didn’t fire him when it learned on Jan. 13 of his deception. Didn’t fire him in February or March. April. Most of May …This is Tennessee all over again, Tennessee not firing basketball coach Bruce Pearl for lying to the NCAA about violations until the backlash was so large, the signs of a coming NCAA beatdown were so obvious, that the school finally, begrudgingly got rid of its money-making coach. For that ignorance, that insolence, Tennessee deserves a crushing when the NCAA hears its case in two weeks. Because, you see, Tennessee still employs the same athletics director who allowed Bruce Pearl to keep his job and to coach the second half of the 2010-11 season. And Tennessee still has the same president. The weed got pulled, but the root remains.Just as it remains at Ohio State. And every other school in the country knows it. So every other school — every AD, every president — surely is confused right now.If their coach lies to them, and to the NCAA, about violations in his program … is it acceptable to allow that coach to keep his job for months? Ohio State thought it was. Prominent former Buckeyes like Kirk Herbstreit and Robert Smith thought Tressel had to go, but that wasn’t enough. A new scandal erupted more than three weeks ago when the Columbus Dispatch reported that dozens of OSU players and family members were buying cars from the same local salesman, even if family members had to come from out of state, and even after that salesman had switched car lots. And that wasn’t enough. Former player Ray Small told the school newspaper last week that NCAA violations were so rife within Tressel’s program, “Everyone was doing it.”  

Maybe that was enough. Maybe Ray Small was the straw that broke this stupid, stubborn camel’s back. Or maybe, and more likely, it was the threat of a Sports Illustrated investigative report coming out soon. Whatever it was, shame on Ohio State for taking so long, for condoning Tressel’s actions by employing him all these months.What happened Monday won’t be enough for the NCAA. Well, it had better not be. The school will show up for its hearing before the Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12. If the Buckeyes are represented by both Gene Smith and E. Gordon Gee, well, that means the Buckeyes still don’t get it.

Show them, NCAA!  Yeah right.

Four run sixth carried White Sox,Peavy, past Boston

BOSTON—Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin each had a pair of RBIs in a four-run sixth inning as the White Sox snapped Jon Lester’s seven-game winning streak and beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3 on Monday night.Paul Konerko added a solo homer for the White Sox, who halted a three-game losing skid and won for the 11th time in their last 13 games against the Red Sox.Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer for Boston, which lost its second straight but only its fourth in its last 17 games.Jake Peavy (2-0), making just his fourth start after working back from season-ending right shoulder surgery last July, held Boston to three runs, six hits, striking out two and not walking anyone over seven innings on the eve of his 30th birthday.

Astros 4 HR’s beat Cubs who comitted 3 errors

Clint Barmes hit the first of four Houston home runs and the Astros rallied to beat the Cubs 12-7 on Monday.Barmes’ fifth-inning two-run shot brought Houston within one run, then Hunter Pence followed with a game-tying solo homer as the Astros halted a three-game losing streak.J.R. Towles gave the Astros the lead with a leadoff home run in the sixth inning off Cubs reliever Jeff Samardzija (3-1). Jeff Keppinger added a three-run shot in the ninth inning to put things out of reach. He finished with three hits and four RBI.After blowing leads against the Diamondbacks on Friday and Sunday, the Astros’ bullpen only allowed one run over five innings. Astros reliever Sergio Escalona (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning to earn the win.Game time temperature was in the high-80s and winds were blowing out at almost 20 mph, which is rarely a recipe for low-scoring affairs.The Astros reached season-highs in runs and home runs, matching their best output this year with 16 hits. They scored 11 runs on 16 hits April 12 against the Cubs in an 11-2 victory in Houston. Carlos Pena homered run for the Cubs, who committed three errors. Starlin Castro, who committed three errors in an inning earlier this season, made another one in the seventh that allowed a run to score. It was his 10th error of the season. Trailing 6-3 in the fifth, Michael Bourn tripled off Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez. Then Barmes and Pence followed with back-to-back shots to left to tie the game at six. It was the first time the Astros hit back-to-back home runs this season. The Cubs have committed three or more errors eight times this season.With Casey Coleman ineffective as a replacement starter, The Cubs acquired Lopez from Atlanta on Thursday for a minor leaguer and were initially expected to use him as a reliever. Following Coleman’s demotion this weekend, Lopez was made a starter. On Monday, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings.Astros starter Aneury Rodriguez only lasted four innings. He allowed six runs, four earned on seven hits.Alfonso Soriano left the game after straining his left quadriceps after trying to beat out a grounder in the first inning.A few feet from first base, Soriano pulled up holding his left thigh. After limping off the field, Soriano was replaced in left field by Blake DeWitt in the second inning. Soriano will have an MRI.

NOTES—Tony Campana stole four bases for the Cubs for the first time since Juan Pierre did it June 15, 2006 for the Cubs against Houston. …Geovany Soto (groin) was back in the lineup after being activated from the disabled list on Sunday. … The Cubs hope to have Matt Garza back for Sunday’s start at St. Louis. … Pence extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Michna 1 yd pludge,Gould PAT lift Rush past Tulsa 49-48

Chicago Sky

ROSEMONT—With no time left in regulation, QB Russ Michna leaped over the Tulsa defense and scored a late rushing touchdown as the Rush shocked the Tulsa Talons 49-48, extending their win streak to three games.

“We didn’t want to try anything funny,” said QB Russ Michna “We wanted to keep it simple and it paid off.”

In a long and exhausting game for both teams, the fourth quarter provided plenty of drama and excitement for the 7,350 fans at Allstate Arena. But the final drive of the fourth quarter proved to be the most compelling. After a late touchdown by Talons WR Trent Shelton with three minutes left in regulation, Michna worked his way down to the opposing goal line. After offsetting illegal formation penalties, the final play of the game was reset and Michna pulled through after his team was given one last chance in the red zone. Michna finished the game 19 for 32 with 201 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Rush offense was impressive throughout the game as the wide receivers gave the team a significant spark particularly in the second half. JJ McKelvey led with three touchdown receptions for 88 yards. Reggie Gray also had a solid performance with one touchdown reception and a 54-yard kick return for a touchdown in the first quarter. But the defense was also a key element in another hard fought victory.

“We have a very complete team both on offense and defense,” said head coach Bob McMillen. “We were the better team today and pulled out a close victory. I am excited to continue watching our team develop as a unit.”

Rush DB Vic Hall finished the game with two interceptions and 11 tackles. His early pick in the second quarter helped the Rush jump to an early 21-6 lead. DB Justin Hannah also made his presence felt with an interception of his own in the third quarter.The Rush hope to extend their winning streak to four games as they go on the road to face the Kansas City Command. The game is this Saturday, June 4th at 1 p.m. CST.



Dempster helps Cubs prevent sweep with 3-2 win over Bucs

Aramis Ramirez ended a long home run drought, Ryan Dempster threw six solid innings and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 in a rain-delayed game Sunday.Ramirez’s line drive solo shot in the second broke a streak of 155 at-bats without a home run, the second longest stretch of his career. Ramirez went 170 at-bats between homers from Aug. 2, 1998, until April 21, 2000. Dempster (4-4) recovered from a poor start to post his fifth quality start in his last six outings. After allowing two runs, a walk and Lyle Overbay’s two-run double in the first inning, Dempster settled down to shut out the Pirates on four hits over the next five innings. Dempster allowed four hits and two runs overall, striking out five and walking three. He beat the Pirates for first time in five starts dating to May 4, 2010. After a rough April, Dempster is now 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in his last six outings. The Cubs got three scoreless innings from their bullpen, one each from Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and closer Carlos Marmol, who earned his 10th save.The Cubs beat the Pirates for the second time in six games at Wrigley Field this season. Even after Sunday’s loss, the Pirates have beaten the Cubs in 16 of the last 23 meetings.Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (3-4) allowed three runs — two earned — and struck out four over five innings. Karstens, who recently took the rotation spot of injured Ross Ohelendorff, departed after throwing just 71 pitches.The Cubs manufactured the go-ahead run in the third. Kosuke Fukudome led off with a double, went to third on Darwin Barney’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly.Overbay walked and drove in both Pittsburgh runs with his two-run double in the first.The game was delayed by 2 hours, 34 minutes at the start because of heavy rain. However, once the storm front cleared the Chicago area, it was a mild and pleasant afternoon. The Cubs scored their first run in the second on the long-overdue homer from Ramirez, who has averaged 28 each of his seven full seasons with the Cubs. Carlos Pena, who followed with a single, has reached base in 21 of his last 23 games. Speedy Cubs rookie Tony Campana then hit a grounder to shortstop Ronny Cedeno and beat the throw, which skipped away from Overbay. Pena advanced to third on the play and Cedeno was charged with an error, snapping his 35-game errorless streak.Pena scored on Koyie Hill’s sacrifice fly to right. Pena beat the throw of Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones, but he slid into catcher Ryan Doumit, who left the game with what the Pirates called an injured left ankle. He was replaced by backup Chris Snyder.Doumit will undergo an MRI exam in Pittsburgh on Monday. Some familiar Cubs nemises got the Pirates out to an early 2-0 lead. Andrew McCutchen and Neal Walker drew back-to-back walks against Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. Both scored on Overbay’s double into the right-field corner. McCutchen has now reached base safely in his last 21 games against the Cubs. Walker, who singled in the sixth, has hit safely in all 15 games he’s played against the Cubs in his career.

NOTES—Catcher Geovany Soto returned to the Cubs’ clubhouse after being activated off the DL. He hasn’t played since May 10 because of a left groin strain. To make room for Soto, the Cubs optioned backup catcher Welington Castillo to Triple-A Iowa. Soto is expected to start in Monday’s series opener against Houston. … The Cubs placed CF Reed Johnson on the DL because of lower back spasms and recalled OF Brad Snyder from Iowa. The Cubs also had to clear space for Snyder on the team’s 40-man roster, so they moved injured starter Andrew Cashner (right rotator cuff strain) to the 60-day disabled list.

Jays blow out Sox to take three of four as Danks falls to 0-8

TORONTO—Aaron Hill hit his first career grand slam and Encarnacion homered using pitcher Ricky Romero’s bat as the Toronto Blue Jays routed the White Sox 13-4 on Sunday.Corey Patterson added a two-run shot as Toronto pounded out a season-high 18 hits.Hill’s homer was his first since Sept. 29 against New York.Edwin Encarnacion followed Hill’s slam with his first homer since going deep at Minnesota last Oct. 3, the final day of the 2010 season. It was the third time this season the Blue Jays have hit back-to-back home runs.Encarnacion used Romero’s bat twice more, but broke it on a single to left in the fifth. He switched back to his own bat for his final two plate appearances.So, would Hill consider taking a pitcher’s bat up to the plate? Both homers, along with Patterson’s two run drive in the fourth, came off John Danks (0-8). The left-hander allowed a season-high nine runs and nine hits in four innings, the shortest of his 11 outings this season. He became the first White Sox pitcher since Eddie Smith in 1942 to start the season 0-8; Smith lost his first 10 decisions that year.

“Today I was terrible,” Danks said. “There’s no other way of putting it.”

Danks won his final two starts in 2010, ending his season with a home victory over Boston, but has not won since. Romero (5-4) won for the third time in four starts, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked two, struck out five and lowered his ERA to 2.88. Casey Janssen worked a scoreless eighth inning and Shawn Camp surrendered Castro’s second homer in the ninth. Danks and major league home run leader Bautista had a testy exchange after the Blue Jays outfielder popped out in the fourth inning. Danks was upset at Bautista for running slowly to first and slamming his bat to the ground as he jogged up the line.

“I just told him to run the bases,” Danks said. “He was out there acting like a clown. He’s a good player. He’s had a great year and a half, no doubt, he’s been one of the best hitters in the league. He was out there acting like he’s Babe Ruth or something. I’ve had a pretty (crummy) year to this point but I have pride still,” Danks added. “I’m not going to let him sit out there and show me up like that.”

Asked about the incident, Bautista said his baserunning was not Danks’ concern.Patterson went 4 for 5 with three RBI and has nine hits in his past two games.The Blue Jays have won 22 of their past 27 meetings with the White Sox, including 15 of 18 at home, and the Sox have not won the season series since 2006.Ramon Castro hit a two-run homer and Carlos Quentin added a solo home run for the White Sox, who have lost three straight and six of 10 overall.Batting sixth, slumping White Sox slugger Adam Dunn went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk, dropping his average to .181.

NOTES—Nix’s bloop single to center in the first was the first hit by a Toronto third baseman since May 15, snapping an 0 for 42 skid….Harrell was promoted when the White Sox placed RHP Tony Pena (elbow tendinitis) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 28….Toronto’s Juan Rivera extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a double in the second but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple…..Gordon Beckham, hit in the face by a throw from the outfield Friday, expects to return to the lineup Monday.



Long time Sox killer Patterson homers in 14th to help Jays win

TORONTO—Another loss and an ongoing lack of timely hitting left White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen feeling worn out. Corey Patterson hit a game-ending homer in the 14th inning, Jose Bautista connected for his major league-leading 20th home run and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Southsiders 9-8 on Saturday.After his team came back from two runs down through seven to tie it in the ninth, Guillen was steamed after his White Sox squandered several chances in extra innings. The White Sox put the go-ahead run at third base with one out in the 11th but couldn’t score, leading their manager to go on a profane tirade after the game. The Sox left 10 men on base, including four in extra innings, and went 5 for 18 with runners in scoring position, leaving Guillen at loose ends. Slumping slugger Adam Dunn, who went 1 for 7 and popped out in the 11th with men at the corners, didn’t fault his fiery manager for showing some emotion. Dunn’s lone hit was a solid RBI single in the fifth. He also struck out twice as his average dropped to .184. Patterson, who tied a career high with five hits, led off the 14th with a drive to right off Gavin Floyd (5-5) for his third of the season. It was the fourth game-winning homer of his career. “I was happy,” Patterson said. “I was getting tired. Everybody was hungry, our food was getting cold.” Floyd started and went seven innings in Wednesday’s loss at Texas. He came out of the bullpen in the 13th, his first relief appearance since Aug. 24, 2007, against Boston.Blue Jays left-hander Luis Perez (1-0) pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings for his first career win. Toronto won back-to-back games for the first time since a season-high six-game winning streak from May 10-16. Brent Lillibridge homered for the White Sox, who lost two in a row for the first time since a three-game losing streak from May 3-6.Juan Rivera’s bases-loaded double in the seventh gave the Blue Jays an 8-6 lead, but their struggling bullpen couldn’t hold on.Lillibridge tripled and scored on a passed ball in the eighth before the White Sox tied it against Frank Francisco in the ninth. Alexei Ramirez hit a one-out double down the right field line and, after Dunn struck out, Paul Konerko drove in Ramirez with a bloop double to right that dropped in just in front of a sliding Bautista. The blown save was the third of the season for Francisco, who has lost twice and has two blown saves in his past four games. Toronto put runners at second and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but Rivera grounded out to pitcher Chris Sale to send the game to extra innings.The Blue Jays led 3-0 just three batters into the bottom of the first. Yunel Escobar walked, Patterson singled and Bautista lined a three-run homer to left-center.Bautista reached the 20-homer mark in his 44th game, the fastest in Blue Jays history. George Bell needed 53 games to hit 20 homers in his 1987 MVP season.No one has reached 20 homers more quickly than Barry Bonds. He did it in 39 games in 2001, when he hit an major league-record 73 home runs. Lillibridge closed the gap with a two-run drive to left in the second, his fifth, but Toronto pulled ahead again by scoring twice in the third on Aaron Hill’s two-run double.The Sox took the lead with a three-run fifth, which began when Juan Pierre reached on Hill’s fielding error. Ramirez grounded out before Dunn laced an RBI single to center. Konerko doubled Dunn to third and A.J. Pierzynski followed with a two-run double to right.Making his second start in place of injured right-hander Jesse Litsch, Carlos Villanueva allowed six runs, five earned, and eight hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four.Seeking to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2 and 7, Edwin Jackson ended up with a no-decision, allowing six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

NOTES—White Sox INF Gordon Beckham has a black eye but no broken bones or damaged vision after being hit under the left eye by a throw from the outfield Friday. Beckham said he hopes to return to the lineup by Monday…..Omar Vizquel took over at first base in the 11th, his first career appearance at the position. Vizquel, who debuted in 1989, has played in 2,784 games…..Pierre went 0 for 6, ending his hitting streak at 12 games….. Litsch (shoulder) has been told not to throw at all for seven days after visiting doctors in Florida on Friday.

Maholm improves to 2-7 against lackluster Cubs with 10-0 rout.

The Pittsburgh Pirates scored 13 runs total in Paul Maholm’s first 10 starts this season. On Saturday they hit four homers and crossed the plate 10 times, giving the left-hander a comfortable cushion he’s seldom enjoyed.The way Maholm was pitching, though, he didn’t need that much help. He mowed down the Cubs with a three-hit shutout, retiring the side in order in seven of the nine innings of Pittsburgh’s 10-0 victory. It was his first win since April 25.Ronny Cedeno, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Andrew McCutchen each homered for the Pirates.Maholm (2-7) got his third career shutout in a place he’s always pitched well. He’s 8-2 in 15 career starts against the Cubs, including 6-2 in 11 starts at Wrigley Field.He only needed 91 pitches to finish off the Cubs in a game that took 2 hours, 28 minutes.Maholm retired the first 13 batters he faced before Alfonso Soriano doubled in the fifth, driving a ball to the center-field wall that McCutchen leaped for but couldn’t catch. Luis Montanez then reached on an infield single.Darwin Barney reached on a two-out infield single in the ninth for the only other Cub hit. Maholm walked none and struck out four.Pittsburgh had been struggling offensively with only six runs in its previous four games, but broke out on an overcast 61-degree day with their most homers in a game this season.Cedeno’s three-run shot capped a five-run fourth that finally gave Maholm a big early lead.In just his second start of the season and first since April 4, Randy Wells (1-1) lasted four innings after being activated off the disabled list (right forearm strain). Wells gave up five hits, including Cedeno’s second homer, and five runs with three walks and seven strikeouts in a 92-pitch outing.Overbay hit his fifth homer, leading off the sixth against reliever James Russell. And one out later, Snyder sent his second homer of the season over the wall in left to make it 7-0. McCutchen connected off reliever Scott Maine in the seventh, his ninth of the season.McCutchen led off the fourth with a single and made third on Neil Walker’s fly ball double to left that Soriano couldn’t catch. One out later, Steve Pearce hit a two-run single and after Snyder walked, ex-Cub Cedeno drove a ball over the wall in right center.Maholm had pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball at Wrigley Field on April 2, leaving with a 3-0 lead, before the Cubs got five runs in the eighth and he ended up with a no-decision.His last shutout before Saturday came on July 18, 2010, against the Astros.Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with how Maholm has handled his first 11 starts, through the good run support of Saturday and the leaner times during most of the season.

NOTES—The Pirates are 16-6 in their last 22 games against the Cubs……Pearce left the game after the top of the fourth with soreness in his right calf. He was replaced at 3B by Brandon Wood…..Walker has hit safely in all 14 of his career games against the Cubs…..Rodrigo Lopez, acquired from Atlanta in a minor-league trade Thursday, will make his first start for the Cubs on Monday against Houston……Matt Garza, on the DL with a sore elbow, could throw on the side Sunday……Marlon Byrd, recovering from facial fractures after being hit near the eye by Boston’s Alfredo Aceves last weekend, is consulting specialists this week…..Jeff Baker (groin) and Reed Johnson (back) were held out of the lineup Saturday. Baker pinch-hit in the ninth…..Cubs cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez has one homer all season and that came on April 6…..The Pirates put LHP Joe Beimel on the DL with left elbow inflammation and planned to send him back to Pittsburgh to be examined.