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Rapid Reaction: Pirates 8, Cubs 2

9/24/2013

CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago' Cubs 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday:

How it happened: Cubs starter Chris Rusin got hit early and often after cruising through the first inning. He gave up three in the second; the big blow came in the form of a two-out base hit from pitcher Gerrit Cole. A Jordy Mercer home run in the third made it 4-0 before Starlin Castro drove in the Cubs' first run in the bottom of the inning. A Pedro Alvarez double in the fifth made it 6-1, as reliever Chang-Yong Lim wasn't sharp either. The Cubs had a great chance to close the gap in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases with none out, but they tallied only one on an error by the shortstop, Mercer. The Pirates added two more in the eighth off Alberto Cabrera as Starlin Marte and Andrew McCutchen drove in runs.

What it means: It's not the image Rusin wants to leave to end the season. He basically threw batting practice to the Pirates and was removed after only 2 1/3 innings. Maybe he's tiring at the end of a long season that saw him throw a career high in innings, but his lack of battle stood out. Lim might have little business being on a major league mound at this point. He simply doesn't look sharp most of the time and his sidearm delivery hasn't fooled anyone.

Outside the box: The Cubs announced infielder Wes Darvill, a fifth-round pick in 2009, will replace Javier Baez in the Arizona Fall League next month while Albert Almora moves up from taxi-squad status to full time. ... The Cubs will try to convert several prospects into catchers this fall and winter. It's a position at which they are thin.

What's next: The Cubs' home finale takes place Wednesday afternoon as they try to avoid the sweep with Jake Arrieta on the mound opposing Francisco Liriano.