The Cubs lost to the Pirates yesterday to claim the basement. But today, Rich Hill proceeded to pitch the best game of his life, striking out 11 in 7.1 innings of work, and the Cubs led 1-0 after seven innings on an unearned run that had scored on a passed ball. By the end of seven innings, Hill had thrown 101 pitches. Ten pitches later, the game was tied and shortly after the pitching change the Pirates had taken the lead on what looked to me like it should have been two unearned runs, although ESPN is claiming that one run was earned.
Given the general incompetence of the Cubs hitting, it looked bad. But the Pirates also changed pitchers going to the bottom of the eighth and the new pitcher was not nearly so effective as Zach Duke had been. Actually, he wasn't doing too badly, but he got yanked after a bloop single and a bunt single. The next Pirates pitcher fell down trying to field a sacrifice bunt attempt that was mysteriously scored as a hit, loading the bases. And then Derrek Lee got his birthday present with a grand slam to give the Cubs the lead. They scored twice more for a 7-2 lead that proved to be safe in the hands of Bobby Howry.
So the Cubs are back out of the basement for now, but another game against the Pirates is scheduled for Thursday.