Paul Maholm allowed one run in eight sharp innings and Jose Tabata drove in a run in the 9th as the Pirates snapped a long road losing streak.
The Cubs went up early. In the second they had second and third with one away. Starlin Castro grounded to Pedro Alvarez. His attempt at gunning down Aramis Ramirez at the plate was wild, allowing a run to score and all men to be safe. But Maholm got Randy Wells and Ryan Theriot to end the threat without more damage.
Wells was also on. He allowed just one run – a two out triple in the third from Andrew McCutchen that scored Tabata – in six innings. He whiffed six, walked four and allowed just three hits. Maholm allowed seven hits and walked none while striking out three in giving the bullpen some much needed rest.
The Pirates had a runner at second in the 7th and the 8th but failed to tally. It was different in the 9th. Andrew Cashner put two on with one out before being pulled for Carlos Marmol. Tabata greeted Marmol with the game deciding double.
Octavio Dotel pitched the 9th for the save.
Maholm was sharp and his effort was needed in so many ways.
Bobby Crosby and Lastings Milledge collided in the second (allowing a blooper from Geovany Soto to fall in for a double and helping the Cubs score), forcing Crosby from the game with what appears to be a concussion.
The offense continues to struggle.
Wells is 2-1 against Pittsburgh having received a no decision in this game. Maholm is now 7-1 lifetime against the Wriglies. Three of his five 2010 wins have come against the Cubs.
Tabata has a modest six game hitting streak.
Alfonso Soriano came into the game with four career homers off of Maholm in 24 at bats but was hitless.
For the fourth time in the last six games, the Pirates whiffed 10 times.
Pirate pitchers failed to yield a walk for the fifth time this year. There were seven such events in 2009.
The Pirates rest at 26-50 after 76 games. In 2009 that mark was 35-41. In 2008 the team was 36-40.