Inside Pitch: Moore Makes A Splash

Scott Moore doubled and homered Thursday

Scott Moore made his first major league start Thursday and had two hits, including a home run, in a 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field.

Moore mostly played third base at Double-A West Tenn this year, and only one game at first. But he will try to make the most of his opportunity working as Derrek Lee's backup.

The left-handed hitting Moore, who had 22 homers for West Tenn, could be an insurance policy if he has an impressive September.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has an "out" in his four-year contract this year and if he decides to test the free-agent market, the Cubs will be scrambling to find a third baseman. Moore, a former first-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers, might not be able to fill Ramirez's shoes, but at the very least, he could make a run at being the team's backup third baseman next year.

REPLAY: The Cubs fought back from a 5-0 deficit to tie Pittsburgh at 5-5, but the Pirates scored a pair of runs off Scott Eyre and Ryan Dempster in the top of the ninth inning and hung on for a 7-5 victory at Wrigley Field.

Chicago (55-84) dropped three out of four games to the Pirates and fell back into last place in the National League Central.

The Cubs have not won a series at home since beating Pittsburgh Aug. 4-6.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • RHP Ryan Dempster continues to struggle, and he gave up another run in Thursday's 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh. The closer has three losses has and allowed eight runs in five innings in his last five appearances.

  • RHP Carlos Marmol, who is now in the bullpen, hit his first major league home run in Thursday's loss to Pittsburgh. Marmol entered the Cubs system as a catcher in 2000 and carried a .273 average before converting to pitcher. But he only had one home run in his first 502 minor league at-bats.

  • CF Juan Pierre has 53 multi-hit games this year, and his average is closing in on .300. Despite a slow start, Pierre has been hot, especially since the All-Star break. The Cubs will be in conversations with his agents in the coming weeks to see if they can come to an agreement on a contract extension.

  • RHP Angel Guzman is searching for his first major league victory. It appeared he was ready during his last start on Sept. 3 against San Francisco, but left the game with a lead with two out in the fifth inning because of cramps in his forearm. He enters Friday's game against Atlanta with an 0-4 mark and a 7.05 ERA.

  • 1B Derrek Lee, who has been taking every third day off since returning from a second stint on the disabled list, did not start on Thursday against Pittsburgh. He ended up playing three straight games because Wednesday night was his birthday -- and he convinced manager Dusty Baker that he hits home runs on his birthday. He lived up to the bargain with an eighth-inning grand slam in a 7-2 victory. Lee has homered five times on hit birthday -- Sept. 6 -- including a homer on that day for four straight years. He picked up a hit as a sub in Thursday's loss to the Pirates.
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