Arrr: Cubs lose late lead, fall to Pirates

Jose Mesa recorded his fourth save

Pittsburgh rallied for five unanswered runs on Friday night to defeat the Cubs 8-5 at PNC Park. Former Cub Bobby Hill hit the game-winning double off Chad Fox in the eighth inning to break a 5-5 tie and send the Pirates on their way to just their fourth win of the season.

Carlos Zambrano started and went six-plus innings, allowing five earned runs and six hits while punching out five. He allowed three home runs including two to catcher David Ross, who finished 3-for-4 in the game, and one to second baseman Rob Machowiak, who hit his first of the season with one out in the sixth inning.

Hill recorded the first of two doubles on the night to start the Pirate seventh. After Ross reached base on a bunt single to third off Michael Wuertz, Matt Lawton's single to left off Mike Remlinger scored Hill to tie the game.

An inning later, Hill took the third pitch he saw from Remlinger (0-1) and drove it to center to score Machowiak and first baseman Daryle Ward to make it a 7-5 Pittsburgh advantage. One out later, a Chris Duffy double made it 8-5.

Salomon Torres (1-0) got the win in relief with Jose Mesa recording his fourth save. Mesa struck out a pinch-hitting Corey Patterson for the final out.

The Cubs' bats got to Pirates starter Oliver Perez periodically. Jason Dubois hit a two-run home run to right in the second inning and Neifi Perez, starting again at second base, also hit a two-run bomb in the fifth off the left-hander, who allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings.

The Cubs fell to 4-6 and have lost three of their last four games. Game 2 starters are Ryan Dempster (0-2, 6.52 ERA) and Cub-killer Kip Wells (0-2, 8.03 ERA) beginning at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) Saturday.

Postgame Notes

Patterson's hitting streak ended at nine games. The Cubs started Jerry Hairston in center field with Patterson pinch-hitting in the ninth. Zambrano remains undefeated in four career starts at PNC Park. The Cubs are 20-17 all-time at "PNC" in four-plus seasons and trail in the all-time series 1,091-1,169. Jeromy Burnitz finished 1-for-3 with a triple in the loss; he celebrated his 36th birthday on Friday.

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