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Pirates lose 7th straight, fall to Cubs 7-4

Associated Press Modified: September 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm •  Published: September 14, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) — James McDonald was unable to give the Pittsburgh Pirates the lift they needed.

McDonald's wildness resulted in an early exit and the Pirates dropped their seventh straight game on Friday, falling 7-4 to the Chicago Cubs.

The Pirates have lost 11 of 13 overall. They began the day three games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot.

McDonald (12-8) struggled once again in the second half. He lasted just 3 2-3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks. He is 2-5 in his last 10 starts.

The 27-year-old admitted concentration has been a problem.

"There are times where I might think too much rather than just pitch," McDonald said. "In the first half, I didn't think 'I have to,' I would think 'I'm going to.'"

"I think thinking too much sometimes really gets me in trouble," he said.

McDonald walked three batters in the fourth before Anthony Rizzo delivered a two-run double down the right-field line and Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI single that made it 4-0.

"In the end, the three walks were the big thing," McDonald said. "Walks are unacceptable. I had two outs, I should have gotten that out and been in the dugout."

Instead, the third walk chased McDonald. Lefty Justin Wilson gave up the big hit to Rizzo.

"We tried to buy 170 points with left on left versus right on left with James," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the Rizzo at-bat. "We're talking about urgency, so I thought I'd cut it up with (Wilson and Chris Leroux) in the fourth."

The Cubs have won four straight against the Pirates, including a three-game sweep last weekend in Pittsburgh.

Chris Rusin (1-2) notched his first major league victory, allowing two runs in five-plus innings in his fourth career start.

"If you strike out (Andrew) McCutchen twice you got to be doing something right," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Not too many left-handers get that guy out."

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