National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, September 9th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (53-86) at Pittsburgh Pirates (72-66), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Chris Rusin (0-2, 9.00)
Pittsburgh - Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.82)
(Sports Network) - Rookie left-hander Chris Rusin can complete a sweep and
pick up his first big-league win today when the Chicago Cubs visit PNC Park to
wrap up a three-game series with the host Pittsburgh Pirates.
A 25-year-old Michigan native, Rusin made his first two starts in the majors
on Aug. 21 and Sept. 4, and was beaten twice on the road at Milwaukee and
He allowed a hit and a run in five innings of a tough-luck 5-2 loss to the
Brewers, then was battered for five runs on eight hits and a walk while
retiring just three hitters in an 11-5 defeat against the Nationals.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder was drafted in the 23rd round by Oakland out of the
University of Kentucky in 2008 but did not sign, then agreed to terms with the
Cubs when they selected him in the fourth round a year later.
He's 22-21 in 86 career minor-league outings, including 8-9 in 26 starts this
season -- one at Double-A Tennessee of the Southern League and 25 at Triple-A
Iowa of the Pacific Coast League.
Pittsburgh tries to sidestep the sweep with southpaw Jeff Locke, who starts
for the second time in four games this season and the sixth time in eight
The 24-year-old was beaten, 5-1, by Houston in his last outing - a five-inning
start on Sept. 3 in which he allowed seven hits and five runs - following a
pair of scoreless relief outings in August.
In 9 1/3 combined innings this summer, he's allowed eight hits and five runs
while walking one batter and striking out seven.
Locke was 0-3 last season in four starts while compiling a 6.48 earned run
average across 16 2/3 innings.
He has never faced the Cubs.
On Saturday, Jeff Samardzija struck out nine batters en route to his first
career complete game as the Cubs downed the Pirates, 4-3.
Samardzija (9-13) allowed just three runs - two earned - on four hits and one
walk to snap a four-start winless drought.
David DeJesus smacked a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth and Alfonso Soriano
added a solo shot to help the Cubs secure their second straight victory on the
heels of a six-game slide.
"It was a special night for him," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It was big
for him to be that so-called number one guy to step up and give us back-to-
Jason Grilli (1-5) was tagged with the loss for giving up DeJesus' base hit in
the eighth. Pedro Alvarez knocked in two runs for the Pirates, who have
dropped six of their last eight games.
The Pirates won six of the first nine games between the teams this season,
including two of three in a series at Wrigley Field from July 30-Aug. 1. The
teams split 16 games in 2011.
09/09 10:38:48 ET