April 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz (19) receives a high five from first baseman Anthony Rizzo (right) after Schierholtz scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Chicago Cubs won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs Defeat The Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 To Take Opening Series

Travis Wood was the starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team looked to claim victory to their first series of the season. Wood continued where he left off from the 2012 season as the starting pitcher pitched the Cubs to victory against the Pirates on Thursday 3 to 2.

The Pitching: Travis Wood was excellent in his season debut against the Pirates on Thursday. Wood pitched six innings of shutout baseball while only surrendering one hit and issuing two walks to go along with 4 strikeouts. Relievers Shawn Camp, James Russell, and Kyuji Fujikawa all managed to hold the Pirates scoreless between the seventh and eighth innings. Carlos Marmol was once again called upon to save the game in the ninth inning. For the second time in three days, Marmol struggled. Marmol managed to notch his first save of the season but allowed 2 runs on 3 hits to go along with 1 walk.

For the Pirates, starting pitcher James McDonald matched Wood pitch for pitch. McDonald pitched seven innings while allowing 1 run on only two hits while walking 2 and striking out 4 Cubs’ batters. After a scoreless eighth inning by reliever Mark Melancon, Pirates’ reliever Jared Hughes allowed two insurance runs in the ninth inning.

The Offense: The Chicago Cubs offense was quiet once again on Thursday. Though, the team did have two hits with runners in scoring position, which was two more than they have had all season. Shortstop Starlin Castro had an RBI single  in the third inning that scored Travis Wood. However, outfielder Nate Schierholtz had the most important hit of the entire game as the outfielder hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning that extended the Cubs lead to 3 to 0 at the time.

For the Pirates, the only player of note was outfielder Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen had two stolen bases to go along with a RBI. First baseman Gaby Sanchez had the other RBI for the Pirates.

The Skinny

  • Carlos Marmol may not be long for the Cubs’ closer role. This is the second time this season that Marmol has struggled in trying to secure the save in the ninth inning. With Kyuji Fujikawa being a prominent closer in Japan, and the impressive start he has had in his first two Major League appearances, Fujikawa may soon be anointed the team’s closer if Marmol’s struggles continue.
  • Dioner Navarro was the starting catcher for the Cubs on Thursday. Navarro, who was teammates with Matt Garza in Tampa Bay, likely will be the starting pitcher’s primary catcher when he makes his season debut in May.

Tags: Andrew Mccutchen Carlos Marmol Chicago Cubs Dioner Navarro James Mcdonald Nate Schierholtz Pittsburgh Pirates Starlin Castro Travis Wood

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