Cubs edge Pirates 3-2 to pick up first win

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm •  Published: April 3, 2014
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The weary Chicago Cubs' bullpen needed a break. New manager Rick Renteria needed a win.

Jason Hammel did a pretty solid job providing both.

The veteran right-hander pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Cubs edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Thursday for their first victory of the season.

"I didn't think it was going to be such a relief but it is quite a relief," Renteria said. "It's nice to win. These games were tough. Taking the last one was very gratifying."

Particularly considering the first two were so draining.

The Cubs lost in 10 innings on opening day and in 16 innings on Wednesday night — actually, early Thursday morning — in a 5-hour, 55-minute marathon that marked the longest Major League Baseball game (by time anyway) ever held in Pittsburgh.

Hammel and four relievers needed only 2:39 to help the Cubs avoid their first 0-3 start since 1997, when the club lost 14 straight to begin the season. The 31-year-old Hammel allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

"He couldn't have been any better," Renteria said of Hammel. "He got to 97 pitches, got us into the seventh inning to help save the bullpen. He worked through a pretty good lineup pretty easily."

The Cubs signed Hammel to a one-year, $6 million contract in February hoping he can provide some stability in the middle of the rotation. He was sharp in his Chicago debut, allowing singles in the first and third innings but otherwise keeping the Pirates in check.

"We played three great games here," Hammel said. "There is no reason to hang our heads because we only won one. We played great but it looks like we're going to be one-run warriors. You've got to win these type of games and we did. We got some timely hits, good defense and played well for 27 outs."

Emilio Bonifacio went 2 for 4 and scored twice to continue his torrid start. The Chicago center fielder hit 11 for 16 (.688) during the opening three-game series. Mike Olt hit the first home run of his career for the Cubs.



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