Series: Game 1 of 3

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 4/11)

Game 1: Friday, April 11
Chi Cubs2
Game 2: Saturday, April 12
Chi Cubs4
Game 3: Sunday, April 13
Chi Cubs4

Pirates 3

(7-3, 6-1 away)

Cubs 2

(5-5, 2-2 home)

    3:20 PM ET, April 11, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 110100000 3 8 0
    CHC 000200000 2 8 1

    W: J. D'Amico (1-1)

    L: C. Zambrano (1-1)

    S: M. Williams (5)

    D'Amico picks up first win of the year

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon had no problem pulling his starting pitcher after only five innings because he has so much confidence in his bullpen.

    Jeff D'Amico got his first win of the season and Aramis Ramirez went 2-for-3 with an RBI single as the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 Friday.

    D'Amico had given up just two runs and thrown only 58 pitches through five innings when McClendon yanked his starter, saying he was beginning to elevate the ball and he didn't like his rhythm.

    McClendon also felt the lead was safe with the way his relievers have been performing.

    "Our bullpen is our foundation and today was no different," McClendon said.

    After D'Amico left, Salomon Torres, Joe Beimel, Julian Tavarez and Mike Williams combined on four scoreless innings of relief. Williams pitched a hitless ninth for his fifth save in as many tries.

    "We feel good when we have a lead late. We feel we can match up," McClendon said. "We have guys that are capable of getting the job done down there."

    The Pirates didn't have an extra-base hit and have just four in their last five games. Still, Pittsburgh (7-3) is off to its best start since also winning seven of 10 to begin the 1993 season.

    Ramirez hit his RBI single in the first inning. D'Amico (1-1) improved to 5-0 in five career starts against the Cubs.

    He struggled in his first start of the season, giving up four earned runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 16-1 loss to Philadelphia.

    "I felt fine, he just decided to make the change," D'Amico said of McClendon's decision. "It all worked out great. You can't say enough about what the bullpen did."

    Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano (1-1) gave up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out six.

    He said his three walks hurt him, particularly in such a tight game.

    "You have to learn to win the game 1-0 or 2-0," he said.

    The Pirates scored three runs in the first four innings and made it hold up.

    In the first inning, Jason Kendall reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Ramirez's single.

    Pittsburgh added an unearned run in the second after Pokey Reese led off with a single. On a hit and run, Jack Wilson grounded to shortstop. Reese went from first to third on the play and first baseman Eric Karros' throw to third was wild for an error, allowing Reese to score.

    In the fourth inning, Ramirez walked, advanced to third on Randall Simon's single and scored on Reese's sacrifice fly.

    Moises Alou had a two-run double in the fourth for the Cubs. But they ran themselves out of the inning when Alou took off on a liner to right and was doubled off second.

    Sammy Sosa, hitting just .240 coming into the game, was 2-for-4 with a double.

    Game notes
    The Pirates are 6-1 in day games this season and have afternoon contests Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field. ... Pirates LF Brian Giles wasn't in the lineup. Giles, out with a strained knee, loves to play against the Cubs. He hit .509 against Chicago in 2002 with seven home runs and has batted .355 against the Cubs in his career. He has five homers in his last five games at Wrigley Field. ... Cubs 2B Mark Grudzielanek had an eight-game hitting streak snapped.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press