Pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt delivered a two-out, two-run double that capped a five-run eighth inning Saturday as the Chicago Cubs rallied past the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.
Chicago’s comeback against relievers Evan Meek and Chris Resop was aided by a costly error on Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano left the game in the seventh with cramping in his right hand, one batter after he’d given up a leadoff homer to Garrett Jones that gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Sean Marshall (1-0) got the victory with a scoreless eighth and Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his first save.
Pirates starter Paul Maholm pitched 6 2-3 shutout innings, giving up five hits, before the Cubs got to the Pirates’ bullpen.
Chicago finally broke through as Meek (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome and threw a wild pitch before Starlin Castro hit an RBI double to make it 3-1. Overbay then misplayed Marlon Byrd’s grounder for an error as Castro scored to make it 3-2.
Geovany Soto had a one-out single and Alfonso Soriano singled to right-center on a 1-2 pitch to tie it at 3.
Resop relieved and walked Tyler Colvin to load the bases. Dewitt, whose poor performance in spring training (.186 batting average) cost him the starting second baseman’s job, doubled to left as Wrigley Field erupted.
Zambrano was put on a suspended list last June, the day after he went on a rampage in the dugout at U.S. Cellular Field. He eventually underwent anger management counseling and when he rejoined the team, he found his groove and went 8-0 over his final 11 starts last season.
Zambrano, who threw 99 pitches on a cool 46-degree day, gave up five hits and three runs in his six innings plus.
Zambrano walked two in the top of the first before Pedro Alvarez pulled a two-out RBI single to right to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.
Neil Walker, who’d hit a grand slam in Pittsburgh’s 6-3 season-opening victory Friday, had an RBI double in the third after Jose Tabata reached on an infield single. After Andrew McCutchen walked to put runners at first and second with no outs, Zambrano averted a big inning. He struck out Overbay and then raced to cover first and complete a double play that was started by first baseman Carlos Pena on Alvarez’s broken-bat grounder.
Maholm retired the first eight batters before Zambrano drove a double.