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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 1, Pirates 0

By Brendan Murphy

Here’s a quick look at the Cubs’ shutout win in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

How it happened: A day after the Cubs pounded Pirates pitching for a season-high 21 hits, Chicago's bats reverted to their previously inept form. The Cubs, however, were picked up by a stellar night from starter Matt Garza. Garza went seven innings, giving up just four hits and striking out seven. He was backed up by a pair of hitless innings from the bullpen -- with Sean Marshall pitching the eight and Carlos Marmol shutting the door in the ninth. The Cubs' lone score was a solo homer off the bat of Starlin Castro in the eighth inning.

What it means: The Cubs may be playing their best ball of the season, but it's too little too late; they sit 15.5 games behind the first-place Brewers.

Outside the box: Thanks to Garza's efforts, the Cubs are on a season-long four-game winning streak. Keep in mind the team didn't earn its first three-game winning streak until it bested the Astros in extra innings on July 24.

Next: Rodrigo Lopez (2-3, 4.40 ERA) and the Cubs will go for the sweep against Pirates hurler James McDonald (7-5, 4.17).