MLB

more stats

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

Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 4
GWI 2
 
Final
DUR 1
GWI 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR
 
Final
DET 8
CLE 6
Final
CIN 2
CHC 5
Final
TAM 5
TOR 1
Final
MIA 6
WAS 2
Final
PHI 5
ATL 4
Final
BAL 18
BOS 7
Final
MIL 6
STL 3
Final
CWS 5
KAN 3
Final
ANA 4
TEX 5
Final
OAK 6
HOU 7
Final
SDP 3
LOS 1
Final
SEA 2
MIN 4
Final
ARI 0
PIT 8
4:10pm Sunday
COL 0
SFG 0
Final
NYY 6
NYM 4
6:10pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
6:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
CWS
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
TAM
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
PHI
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
BOS 93
CLE 101
Final
SAN 105
LAC 114
Final
WAS 125
TOR 94
Final
DAL 121
HOU 109
7:00pm Tonight
BRK
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
MEM
 
Final
MIN 4
STL 1
Final
OTT 0
MON 2
7:00pm Tonight
DET
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
 
Final
DUR 4
GWI 2
 
Final
DUR 1
GWI 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR