Pirates attempt to cool off Bonifacio
(Sports Network) - Wandy Rodriguez and the Pittsburgh Pirates will try to figure out a way to cool off Emilio Bonifacio as they tangle with the Chicago Cubs in the second of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Despite Bonifacio going 3-for-5 as the Cubs' leadoff hitter on Tuesday, Pittsburgh managed to escape with a 7-6 win. Russell Martin posted two hits, scored two runs and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly. Pedro Alvarez and Travis Ishikawa drove in two RBI apiece for the Pirates, who took two of three from Chicago in a season opening series.
Bonifacio has at least two hits in five of his seven games this season and is 14-for-21 against the Pirates in four games.
"We've got to make some adjustments," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Bonifacio after the series opener. "We've talked about it, just weren't able to do it tonight. We know what we need to do, haven't been able to do it. ... Give him credit because he's barreling up a lot of balls from both sides of the plate."
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro delivered a promising performance on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI. Castro has hit safely in five consecutive outings after starting the campaign 0-for-9.
"He's just starting to get into a rhythm," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of his starting shortstop. "He's got some guys getting on base ahead of him. He's seeing a lot of good at-bats from his teammates. He's making a real good conscientious effort of bearing down and doing his thing."
Edwin Jackson surrendered six runs on nine hits with four walks over 4 2/3 innings of work in the series opener for Chicago. Jason Hammel will hope for better success as he makes his first career start at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
Hammel, who has played for four different teams and 216 major league games, joined the Cubs after Spring Training camp already had begun. The Orioles' 2013 Opening Day starter did not disappoint in his Cubs' debut as he pitched 6 2/3 innings with only two hits allowed for the win, opposite of Rodriguez, who will be on the hill for the Pirates on Wednesday.
Rodriguez made a quality start versus the Cubs last week, allowing only five hits and three runs in six innings. The 35-year old southpaw, who has not recorded a win since May 26, is nearly at 100 percent after overcoming a forearm injury.
"I feel great," Rodriguez said, meaning emotionally as well as physically. "When I came back in Spring Training, I think about my arm a lot when I pitched. Here it's different ... emotional, and you know what? I passed everything good. This was big for me."
Pittsburgh's star outfielder Andrew McCutchen entered the series 5-for-23 with six strikeouts. However, the reigning NL MVP ended his cold spell as he finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. McCutchen now owns a .497 career ob-base percentage at Wrigley Field. Starling Marte has a nine-game hitting streak at Wrigley Field and is 16-for-37 across that stretch.
04/09 10:40:44 ET