Wrigley Field | 1:05 | Duke vs. Rich Hill | Box
This was all Alfonso Soriano. He drove in five runs off three different pitchers. In the third his solo homer of Zach Duke knotted the score at 3. With the Cubs up 5-3 in the fifth, he belted a two run homer off of Salomon Torres. In the 7th he put the game away, doubling in two runs off of John Van Benschoten.
Duke didn’t make it past the fourth in his return to the rotation. He gave up four earned runs and nine hits. If there was a good sign from his outing it is that he struck out four hitters. He has only whiffed more than that once all season. Pirate pitchers whiffed 11 hitters total, marking the second time all month they reached 10 or more. Not that that is good or anything. I’m just pointing it out.
Derrek Lee had four hits, including a tater. Aramis Ramirez bopped a two run homer to push his season total for RBI to triple digits. Rich Hill gave up five hits and three runs but pitched five innings – long enough to get the win.
AP recap at Yahoo! Sports
Pirates Official Site
Cubs Official Site
Rich Hill comes into the game looking for his 10th win. The last three months have been rough for him. Heading into his start on June 17th against the Padres, his ERA was a very tidy 2.81. After his start against the Reds on September 17th, it was 4.01.
In 2007 he is 5-2 with a 4.19 ERA. He has been very tough on lefties. They have a meager .299 slugging average against him. He has faced the Pirates twice in 2007 and is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA. In his career against Pittsburgh he is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA.
Hill has held two prominent Pirates at 0-11 for their careers. They are Jason Bay and Jose Bautista. Ronny Paulino is 5-11 with a homer. The only other Bucco with more than three hits is Jack Wilson who is away from the team after the recent birth of a child.
Zach Duke will be looking to recover some of the Magic of 2005. Duke was shelved in June with elbow irritation and has not started since. He did make one relief appearance. His lone start against Chicago this year was a no decision. For his career against the Cubs he is 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA. He has done very well in Wrigley, where he is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA. That includes his only career shutout to date.
Beware of Matt Murton. He is 9-20 with the only homer hit by a Cub off Duke. Ronny Cedeno is 7-16. Alfonso Soriano is 4-9.