Cubs Slam Pirates

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- After their 13-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday, the Pirates grumbled about Wrigley Field's bumpy, beat-up outfield.

"It's not major-league caliber," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.

"It's terrible," left fielder Nate McLouth said. "It's rock hard, and it looks like a dozen cows have been grazing out there."

The turf has noticeably deteriorated since two rock concerts were staged there in July. But the sloppy outfield had nothing to do with the Cubs' victory.

The Pirates made three errors -- all by infielders -- which led to seven runs. The Cubs launched four home runs, including a pair of three-run shots by Aramis Ramirez.

In the first inning, Ramirez hit a homer over the left field bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue. In the sixth, Ramirez broke a 7- 7 tie with a another shot to left against reliever Franquelis Osoria (0-2).

The Pirates, who have lost a season-high seven in a row, slumped even deeper into the division cellar.

Even though starter Paul Maholm was ripped for four runs in the first inning, the Pirates had to stick with him as long as possible. The bullpen was without right-handers Salomon Torres (paternity leave) and Shawn Chacon (elbow stiffness), and lefty Shane Youman (finger blister).

Maholm was lifted after giving up four straight singles to start the third inning. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits, and stormed off the mound before Tracy arrived to ask for the ball. …