Series: Game 3 of 4

Chi Cubs leads 3-0 (as of 8/3)

Game 1: Monday, August 1
Chi Cubs5Final
Game 2: Tuesday, August 2
Chi Cubs11Final
Game 3: Wednesday, August 3
Chi Cubs1Final
Game 4: Thursday, August 4
Chi Cubs7Final

Cubs 1

(46-65, 21-34 away)

Pirates 0

(54-55, 26-28 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 3, 2011

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 000000010 1 7 0
    PIT 000000000 0 4 0

    W: M. Garza (5-8)

    L: C. Resop (3-3)

    S: C. Marmol (22)

    Cubs-Pirates Preview


    Pitching was a big reason the Pittsburgh Pirates were atop the NL Central a little over a week ago. It's also been a primary cause of their recent collapse.

    After a home run barrage sent the Pirates to another defeat, they'll look to avoid matching their longest slide of the season when they host the Chicago Cubs again Wednesday night.

    The Pirates (54-54) shared the division lead with St. Louis after beating Atlanta on July 25, having gotten plenty of help from a staff with a 3.39 ERA that ranked among the best in the league.

    Losing seven of eight since has dropped Pittsburgh into third in the Central, 5 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee. That collapse has been partly due to struggles on the mound, as the Pirates own a 4.95 ERA in that stretch -- 6.59 from the rotation.

    Perhaps the ugliest performance came in Tuesday's 11-6 loss to Chicago (45-65), as starter Kevin Correia served up four homers and eight runs in two-plus innings.

    The Pirates are on the verge of matching their season-high six-game skid from May 10-16.

    "Everybody's got their own Rubik's Cube to figure out right now," manager Clint Hurdle said.

    Hurdle now gives the ball to Charlie Morton (8-6, 4.04 ERA), who is trying to redeem himself following one of his worst performances of the season.

    The right-hander gave up a season-high eight runs while walking four, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch in four innings of Friday's 10-3 loss at Philadelphia. He's failed to complete six innings in any of his last eight starts, going 2-4 with a 7.18 ERA.

    "He's still growing and trying to figure it out," Hurdle said.

    Facing the Cubs for the first time this season may help. Morton has won his last two starts against them while allowing two runs and nine hits in 15 innings.

    Chicago, though, is feeling confident after one of its best offensive displays of the season.

    The Cubs' 21 hits Tuesday were their highest total since getting 23 in a win at Arizona on April 4, 2005, and their six homers were twice as many as they had in their previous eight games combined.

    "We haven't seen an outburst like that in a while, it was just great," manager Mike Quade said. "A game like this can help you in a million different ways."

    Alfonso Soriano has four homers in four games after connecting for two solo shots Tuesday. He's a .336 hitter with 10 homers and 21 RBIs in 34 career games at Pittsburgh.

    Matt Garza (4-8, 3.99) wouldn't mind that type of production when he's on the mound. The right-hander has a 3.82 ERA in his last six starts, but an 0-2 record to show for it after being backed by eight total runs.

    "I'd love to see a 'W' but it doesn't take away from the fact that he's put together a ton of quality starts, and he's been a good pitcher for us and given us a chance to win on numerous occasions," Quade told the team's official website.

    Garza would have needed a bunch of support to win Friday, when he surrendered six runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-2 defeat at St. Louis. He's 0-3 with a 5.97 ERA in six road starts since winning at Arizona on April 30.

    He didn't get a decision in his only previous start against the Pirates on April 3, yielding three runs alongside 12 hits and 12 strikeouts in seven innings of a 5-4 home loss.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL1L2
    Last 104-64-6

    Pitching Matchup

    M. Garza
    10-10, 3.32 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at SD
    7.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win
    C. Morton
    10-10, 3.83 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/26 at MIL
    5.0 IP, 5 ER
    Dec = ND

    Gameday Lineups

    1. S. Castro, SS A. McCutchen, CF
    2. D. Barney, 2B G. Jones, RF
    3. A. Ramirez, 3B N. Walker, 2B
    4. C. Pena, 1B D. Lee, 1B
    5. M. Byrd, CF R. Ludwick, LF
    6. G. Soto, C P. Alvarez, 3B
    7. A. Soriano, LF R. Cedeno, SS
    8. T. Colvin, RF M. McKenry, C
    9. M. Garza, P C. Morton, P