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06/02/10 1:00 AM ET

Pirates seem to have Cubs' number

The Pirates have undoubtedly had their fair share of struggles this season, but they sure haven't come against the Cubs.

Pittsburgh improved to 7-1 against Chicago with a 3-2 win on Tuesday to give them five straight wins over the Cubs at home for the first time since they won seven straight from June 26, 1991, to July 16, 1992.

They'll look to make it six in a row over the Cubs at PNC Park on Wednesday with left-hander Zach Duke on the mound, starting opposite Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who will be making his first start since April 20.

The Pirates have seemingly had their way with the Cubs this season, with seven of their 22 wins coming against their National League Central rivals. But Pirates manager John Russell isn't quite ready to say his team has their number.

"They've got a good club," Russell said of the Cubs. "We've had some success against them, but we're not going to think we have their number. We've got to play well to beat them. To date, we have pitched well against them, and that's been the biggest key for us. Hopefully that will continue. We don't take them lightly because they are a good ballclub. We've got to do a good job to beat them."

The Cubs, though, have struggled this season with a 24-29 record, which simply isn't good enough in the eyes of manager Lou Piniella.

"We haven't done well," Piniella said. "Let's not look at the other teams. We haven't done well first and foremost. I don't see us atop of our division or with one of the better records in baseball.

"Maybe they're saying the same things about us. We're playing the Cubs, let's make some hay. You've got to go hard every day, and you've got to earn your wins. They are not given to you. The other teams they see you down a little bit they want to keep you down."

Zambrano, however, will try to keep the Cubs from dropping their fourth straight game in his first start since being demoted to the bullpen in late April. He posted a 7.45 ERA in four outings as a starter before posting a 4.15 ERA as a reliever.

He threw a 73-pitch simulated game on May 24 and is expected to throw 75 to 80 pitches in his first start back in the rotation.

"He's been throwing the ball well here the last 10 days or so," Piniella said of Zambrano. "Now we need for him to carry that over into the rotation and win some ballgames for us. He'll make our rotation stronger if he pitches the way he's capable. We look forward to getting him out there pitching, and Wednesday is a good time to start."

Cubs: Time to try something different
Chicago kept struggling players Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto out of the starting lineup Tuesday with the hope of getting them out of their recent slumps. Piniella said it was finally time to shake up the lineup after waiting until June to make temporary changes.

"Patience is a virtue, too much patience is stupidity," Piniella said. "I still cling to the fact that our guys are going to hit, but at the same time, it's already June. We're not here in April, we're about a third into the season."

Pirates: Eveland added to rotation mix
The Pirates added to their rotation Tuesday when they acquired left-hander Dana Eveland from the Blue Jays in exchange for Minor League righty Ronald Uviedo.

Eveland was 3-4 with a 6.45 ERA in nine starts with the Blue Jays this season, but he was effective in 2008 with the A's when he went 9-9 with a 4.34 ERA in 29 starts. Eveland, who hasn't pitched since May 22, is expected to make a few relief appearances with the Pirates before joining the rotation.

"He hasn't pitched competitively in a game for a little while, so it would be unfair to ask him to go right back in with starts," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "But big picture, our thought is he could be a starting pitcher for us."

Worth noting
Cubs legend and radio color analyst Ron Santo was hospitalized Monday night in Pittsburgh. Santo checked in after Monday's game against the Pirates because he was feeling the effects of a very hot, muggy day in the broadcast booth. Santo, 70, underwent a battery of tests and no major medical issues were found.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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