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Updated: Friday, April 11, 2003 7:51 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Pittsburgh Pirates
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
3 8 0
Chicago Cubs
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 8 1
W D'Amico (1-1)
L Zambrano (1-1)
S Williams (5)
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PITTSBURGH 3, CHICAGO CUBS 2
 

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Jeff D'Amico remained undefeated against the Chicago Cubs , allowing two runs and six hits over five innings, as the Pittsburgh Pirates posted a 3-2 victory in the opener of a three-game series.

D'Amico (1-1), who walked none and struck out one, rebounded from a rough outing in his first start of the season when he surrendered six runs - four earned - over 4 1/3 innings of a 16-1 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday.

The righthander improved to 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs, allowing five earned runs in 36 1/3 innings.

"I don't know," D'Amico said about his success against the Cubs. "I have no idea because it's a new lineup, and I'm probably going to see them two or three more times this year, so I better not say anything and jinx myself."

"We just saw a pitcher pitch a great game today, no question about it," said Sammy Sosa , who drove in both Chicago runs with a two-run double in the fourth. "But it was tough today because we only got two runs."

Pittsburgh played without left fielder Brian Giles , who was scratched after straining his right knee in Thursday's game at Milwaukee. Giles suffered the injury while trying to stretch a single into a double and underwent an MRI on Friday. The results were not immediately available.

The Pirates staked D'Amico to a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first, second and fourth innings before the Cubs got back two on Moises Alou 's two-run double in the bottom of the fourth.

Carlos Zambrano (1-1) took the loss, yielding three runs - two earned - and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"I think I need to get in control on the mound and next time I will be better," Zambrano said.

Four pitchers combined for four scoreless innings in relief for the Pirates.

"I felt fine but(manager Lloyd McClendon ) wanted to make a change, but that's OK because it worked out fine," D'Amico said. "The bullpen came in and did a great job."

"I thought he was starting to elevate the ball a bit and labor too," McClendon said. "I didn't like the rhythm. We have to get him used to every five days but he will be fine."

Mike Williams recorded the final three outs for his fifth save. Williams walked Alou with one out, but got Eric Karros to ground into a game-ending double play.

The Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first as Jason Kendall reached on an infield single with one out, stole second and scored on Aramis Ramirez 's single.

Pittsburgh used Pokey Reese 's hustle to make it 2-0 in the second. After Reese singled with out, he raced to third on Jack Wilson 's high chopper to shortstop and scored on first baseman Karros' throwing error.

"I was looking to go from first to third and steal a little and Jack just put the ball in play," Reese said. "I was just trying to make something happen."

Reese's sacrifice fly gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

"Reese is starting to find his groove," McClendon said. "He played today as well as he has played all year. He is starting to move well on defense."

Zambrano doubled with two outs in the fifth, but was left stranded on second as Tom Goodwin grounded out.

After striking out 29 times in their previous two games, the Cubs fanned only seven times. However, Joe Beimel struck out the side in the seventh after giving up a leadoff single to Karros.

"The thing that is alarming right now is that we are swinging and missing way too much for me," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "But we knew we had work to do on that when we got here, so it's a work in progress."

Chicago has lost consecutive games for the first time this season.


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