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(Friday, May 25th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 1, Chicago 0
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - A. J. Burnett worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings and the Pittsburgh bullpen took care of the rest as the Pirates slipped past the Cubs, 1-0, dealing Chicago its 10th straight loss.
It's longest streak of futility for the Cubs since they lost the first 14 games of the 1997 season.
Burnett (3-2) scattered six hits and walked two while striking out six to earn the victory in the opener of this three-game set.
Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli, Juan Cruz and Joel Hanrahan combined to complete the shutout for the Pirates, who had lost three of their last four coming in.
"The guys are going out there and doing the best they can. Our job (as pitchers) is go out there and throw up more zeros," Burnett said. "So when we do strike, whether it's one or two runs, we'll be alright."
Rod Barajas finished 2-for-4 and knocked in the only run of the game.
Ryan Dempster (0-3) pitched well in defeat, allowing just the one run on seven hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six in the loss, which extended his personal winless streak to 17 games.
Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Joe Mather all had two hits for the Cubs, who did manage 10 hits overall, but failed to produce in the clutch by going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Pittsburgh pushed across the only run of the contest in the second inning. Pedro Alvarez started the inning with a base hit, moved to second on a groundout by Matt Hague, and came around to score on a single into right by Barajas.
Chicago threatened in the fifth with a two-out rally. David DeJesus walked and Castro singled then stole second to put runners on second and third, but Burnett got Mather to ground out sharply to third to end the inning.
Adrian Cardenas drew a two-out walk in the sixth and Barney singled off Hughes to put Cubs on first and second, but again they could not score as Koyie Hill grounded out to end the threat.
Alfonso Soriano ripped a two-out single in the eighth and pinch-runner Tony Campana swiped second to put the tying run in scoring position, but Cruz got Cardenas to ground out to second to preserve the lead.
Hanrahan came on for the ninth and gave up a leadoff base hit to Barney, but he was erased on a bunt back to the mound by Hill. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson sliced a ball down the right field line to put the tying run on third. Hanrahan composed himself and fanned DeJesus and Castro to nail down his 11th save of the season.
"I'm at a loss for words now," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Guys are battling and having decent at-bats and then just not finalizing it really."
Pirates outfielder Josh Harrison extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games...Barajas has hit safely in nine of his last ten games...The Pirates improved to 13-8 when scoring first...Chicago fell to 6-15 on the road...It was Dempster's 25th career against Pittsburgh...The Bucs finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
05/26 00:09:48 ET