CHICAGO - Forty-thousand voices roared Sunday for every fly ball the Chicago Cubs hit, even the ones that didn't fly out of Wrigley Field.
And when reliever Michael Wuertz struck out the side in the ninth inning to cap an 8-0 rout of the Pirates, the fans rose again and belted out the Cubs' victory song. They hugged and clapped and spilled out of the park and into the taverns of Wrigleyville.
"It's really neat, especially if you're on that side of the field," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.
The trouble is, the Pirates keep finding themselves on the wrong side of the field.
Yesterday's wipeout against the first-place Cubs extended the Pirates' season-worst losing streak to nine games.
It was the first time the Cubs had swept the Pirates at Wrigley Field since Sept. 13-15, 2004. It also clinched the Pirates' third consecutive season of at least 90 losses.
"It's miserable," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "We've had a lot of runs this year like this, where it's not fun late in the game because we're getting killed.
"It's both ends -- it's the pitching; it's the hitting. We've got a ways to go."
The Pirates have gone 1-9 since Frank Coonelly was hired as team president. A front office shakeup is under way -- a new general manager could be named this week -- and more personnel changes are likely to come.
"We haven't done our job as a team," outfielder Xavier Nady said. "I don't know if it's a little uncertainty in the back of our minds about all this or what.
"It's frustrating. And when you play in an atmosphere like this, you see what it could be like to be in the playoff hunt. …