Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 4/8)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 8
Pittsburgh7Final
Chi Cubs6
Game 2: Wednesday, April 9
Pittsburgh5Final
Chi Cubs7
Game 3: Thursday, April 10
Pittsburgh5Final
Chi Cubs4

Pirates 7

(5-2, 1-0 away)

Cubs 6

(2-5, 1-3 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 8, 2014

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 400110010 7 11 1
    CHC 013001100 6 10 0

    W: T. Watson (2-0)

    L: P. Strop (0-1)

    S: J. Grilli (2)

    Pirates-Cubs Preview

    STATS LLC

    Charlie Morton was sharp and Edwin Jackson was solid when they squared off Wednesday, but it was Thursday by the time the Pirates won the longest game in Pittsburgh baseball history.

    Chicago is hoping to make it a bit more difficult on Morton this time.

    After scoring as many runs in their latest game as their first five, the Cubs look for better luck against Morton as he again squares off against Jackson in Tuesday night's series opener at Wrigley Field.

    Morton struck out six Cubs in six innings Wednesday, and it appeared the Pirates (4-2) were headed toward a 2-0 victory after scoring a pair off Jackson in his 5 1/3 innings. But Chicago rallied with runs in the eighth and ninth, and it took until backup catcher Tony Sanchez's pinch-hit single in the 16th -- 5 hours, 55 minutes after the game started -- before Pittsburgh won 4-3.

    Sanchez came through with another big hit Sunday, doubling home Pedro Alvarez in the seventh to lift the Pirates to a 2-1 win and series victory against St. Louis.

    "I'm still nervous playing up here," Sanchez said. "My heart is racing. My head is spinning. It feels like the game is going 1,000 mph. So, it's nice to be able to get some big hits."

    The Cubs (2-4) finally got some Sunday after totaling eight runs in their first five games. Chicago recorded six hits, but four of those came in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position in its 8-3 win over Philadelphia.

    Rick Renteria's club had gone 4 for 40 in such situations prior to Sunday.

    "They've strung together a lot of good at-bats over the last five or six days. We just don't have a lot to show for it," Renteria said. "Today, we happened to have some balls find holes, and we took advantage of it."

    The Cubs will try to keep it going against Morton, who has allowed only seven hits over 13 scoreless innings in his last two starts against Chicago without a win to show for it.

    The Cubs aren't the only opponent he's made uncomfortable with his trademark sinker. Morton is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last 12 regular-season starts, allowing one homer in 73 1/3 innings while producing a major league-best 78.7 percent ground-ball rate.

    "At first, it was never, 'What I have is good enough.' I was always questioning myself," Morton told the team's official website, "and making things more complicated. Now I'm good with what I've got. I just have to throw it in the right place. The key for me is still to have the count in my favor, to put batters on the defensive, where they are more likely to chase the sinker."

    The one hitter neither Morton nor any other Pirates pitcher could figure out last week was Emilio Bonifacio, who had two hits against Morton en route to an 11-for-16 opening series. Bonifacio had three more Saturday and Sunday, giving him a major league-best 14 in 28 at-bats with his new team.

    He even drew an intentional walk -- the third of his eight-year career -- in the 11th inning of Wednesday's game.

    "I told (catcher Russell) Martin, 'Really?' and he said, 'We can't get you out,'" Bonifacio said. "Even the umpire was laughing."

    Jackson will look to continue his strong 2013 finish at Wrigley. After starting 0-5 with a 7.83 in his first six starts on the North Side, the right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA over his final seven.

    He'll likely be pitching carefully to Andrew McCutchen, who is 8 for 21 with two homers and five walks against Jackson. The reigning NL MVP's .488 on-base percentage at Wrigley is easily his best at any venue.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Gameday Matchup

     PittsburghChicago
    W-L70-6460-74
    Night53-3830-40
    Grass68-6360-74
    Current StreakW3W1
    Last 106-46-4

    Pitching Matchup

    PittsburghChicago
    C. Morton
    5-12, 3.84 ERA

    Last Game:
    8/15 at WSH
    3.0 IP, 5 ER
    Dec = Loss
    E. Jackson
    6-14, 6.09 ERA

    Last Game:
    8/20 vs SF
    2.2 IP, 7 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.PittsburghChicago
    1. S. Marte, LF E. Bonifacio, 2B
    2. T. Snider, RF R. Kalish, LF
    3. A. McCutchen, CF A. Rizzo, 1B
    4. P. Alvarez, 3B N. Schierholtz, RF
    5. R. Martin, C L. Valbuena, 3B
    6. N. Walker, 2B S. Castro, SS
    7. T. Ishikawa, 1B R. Sweeney, CF
    8. J. Mercer, SS W. Castillo, C
    9. C. Morton, P E. Jackson, P

    Research Notes

    Edwin Jackson allowed a .194 batting average against on at-bats to end in his slider last season. He threw the pitch 28 percent of the time last season, ninth most in baseball. Pirates hitters compiled a .203 average against sliders from righties last year, tied for eighth worst in baseball.

    ESPN Stats & Information