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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, April 3rd (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (0-2) at Pittsburgh Pirates (2-0), 12:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jason Hammel (0-0, 0.00) Pittsburgh - Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00)

(SportsNetwork.com) - There will be no rest for the weary on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates try to complete a three-game season-opening sweep of the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh won a marathon on Wednesday, as Tony Sanchez's pinch-hit RBI single in the 16th inning carried the Pirates past the Cubs, 4-3, in a contest that lasted nearly six hours.

Two nights after they edged Chicago, 1-0, on Opening Day, the Pirates plated the winning run again against Carlos Villanueva (0-2), who surrendered Neil Walker's walk-off homer in the 10th on Monday.

Jordy Mercer singled to open the deciding frame, hustled to third on Starling Marte's one-out base hit and trotted home when Sanchez, in his first at-bat of the season, dribbled one through a drawn-in infield to send the few remaining Pirates fans into a frenzy.

It was the longest game ever played in Pittsburgh in terms of time (5:55).

Cubs second baseman Emilio Bonifacio had five hits in the loss and is 9-for-12 this season, making him the first player in the modern era with nine hits through the first two games of a season.

Both teams had plenty of opportunities to end the replay-filled stalemate sooner. Pittsburgh stranded 15 runners and Chicago left 19 on after going 1- for-16 with runners in scoring position.

"Both teams had opportunities to put this game away before it got taken care of," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Now, less than 12 hours after that contest ended the Pirates will send left- hander Wandy Rodriguez to the hill for the first time since last June. Rodriguez was 6-4 last season for the Pirates, but left his start on June 5 with forearm pain and did not pitch again.

Rodriguez, though, has looked good this spring, pitching to a 3.09 ERA in four outings while needing only 89 pitches to get through 11 2/3 innings.

"He sure does feel good; the old Wandy is back," Hurdle said. "It's hard to be yourself when you can't compete, can't participate and can't help. He's looking forward to pitching, I do know that."

Rodriguez is 9-7 lifetime against the Cubs with a 3.60 ERA in 24 starts. He's also won his last three games against Chicago, posting quality starts each time.

Chicago, meanwhile, will counter with righty Jason Hammel, who signed a one- year contract with the Cubs this winter. Hammel went 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 23 starts and three relief outings last season, his second with Baltimore.

A two-time 10-game winner with Colorado, the 31-year-old right-hander has made at least 20 starts in each of the last five years.

Pittsburgh was 12-7 against the Cubs last season.

04/03 10:27:28 ET

TV
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    Monday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 104
BOS 116
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CAR
 
Final
DET 2
ATL 4
Final
TAM 6
BAL 6
Final
PIT 18
PHI 4
Final
STL 6
WAS 2
Final
NYM 7
MIA 1
Final
CWS 1
CLE 4
Final
OAK 11
COL 2
Final
TEX 7
KAN 11
Final
SEA 5
ANA 3
Final
CIN 3
SDP 6
Final
CHC 8
SFG 5
Final
ARI 2
LOS 4
Final
HOU 4
TOR 7
Final
BOS 14
MIN 2
1:05pm Today
TAM
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
STL
MIA
 
1:05pm Today
WAS
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
DET
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PHI
 
4:05pm Today
TEX
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
LOS
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
MIL
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
COL
 
4:05pm Today
CLE
SEA
 
4:10pm Today
ANA
OAK
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
TEX
 
6:05pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
KAN
 
Final
CHA 104
BOS 116
Final
PHI 111
LAL 113
Final
TOR 99
HOU 96
Final
ATL 101
MIL 88
Final
MEM 97
SAC 83
Final
MIN 84
UTA 104
Final
POR 109
PHO 86
7:30pm Tonight
DET
ATL
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
SAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
 
Final
LOYC 65
LAMON 58
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
MIAMI
 
7:00pm Tonight
EVAN
TENNM
 
9:00pm Tonight
NARZ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
ODU
STAN
 
Final
MON 3
TAM 5
Final
STL 1
VAN 4
Final
DAL 3
CAL 5
Final
CHI 4
LOS 1
Final
COL 1
EDM 4
Final
ARI 1
BUF 4
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NJD
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
TAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
VAN