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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 5, Pirates 1

By Doug Padilla



PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs have rebounded nicely after a humbling sweep at St. Louis by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 on Tuesday, their second consecutive victory in the series.

How it happened: The Cubs got more dominating pitching Tuesday, only this time it was from former Pirates lefty Paul Maholm. Pitching at PNC Park for the second time in a different uniform, Maholm gave up just a home run to Garrett Jones in his eight innings of work. The Cubs got their offense from Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano home runs. David DeJesus also had a two-run double.

What it means: Soriano’s career domination of the Pirates continued. After a pair of RBI doubles on Monday night, he hit his two-run home run Tuesday. Soriano entered with a .319 career batting average against the Pirates with 25 home runs and 60 RBIs.

Outside the box: Make that five consecutive victories for Maholm going back to a June 29 win over the Houston Astros. Maholm has actually given up one earned run or less in each of his last six outings (he had a one-inning relief outing on July 8). Maholm becomes the first Cubs left-hander to pitch six innings and allow one run or less in five consecutive starts since 1918.

Off beat: The Pirates’ Jones managed to hit a ball into the Allegheny River, only it was a foul ball. Jones’ smash in the seventh inning cleared the right-field stands, bounced off a walkway just missing pedestrians, got through some trees and just missed a docked boat while landing in the water. Incidentally, Anthony Rizzo had a similar shot during batting practice Monday, but his shot bounced off some stairs in the right-center stands before bouncing out of the ballpark and toward the river.

Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Ryan Dempster (5-4, 2.11 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday’s series finale. The Pirates will counter with right-hander Kevin Correia (7-6, 4.31) in the 11:35 a.m. CST start from PNC Park.