Rapid Reaction: Cubs 14, Pirates 4
CHICAGO -- With trade rumors all around, the Cubs only looked more focused Monday in a 14-4 victory over the second-place Pirates.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Three Cubs home runs paced an explosive attack highlighted by a nine-run fifth inning. Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo each hit three-run home runs, while Starlin Castro crushed a two-run shot to center field. Justin Germano filled in admirably for Matt Garza (sore right arm), allowing just two runs in five innings, which would make him a viable rotation candidate moving forward.
WHAT IT MEANS: On the last day with the current roster still intact, the Cubs gave their departing players a grand send off. During the game both Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto said their goodbyes and were pinch hit for in the game.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Cubs not only scored a season-high nine runs in the fifth inning, they also had a season-high eight hits in an inning. It was the most runs the Cubs have scored in an inning since pushing across 10 in an Aug. 14, 2009 game. They also had eight in an inning on Sept. 8, 2009. All three big innings came against the Pirates.
OFF BEAT: Something seemed to be under Barney’s skin before he crushed his three-run home run in the fourth inning. After unloading on the 2-2 pitch, Barney tossed his bat emphatically and appeared to shout something at the Pirates’ bench. It was unknown if it all might have started after Barney failed to turn an inning-ending double play in the fourth allowing the Pirates to score a run. After the home run he added a single and a triple.
UP NEXT: The Cubs have right-hander Ryan Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA) scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but all indications are that he could be traded before then. The Pirates will counter with right-hander A.J. Burnett (12-3, 3.52) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.