Cubs' Gorzelanny steps up in fill-in role, helps stifle Pirates

CHICAGO -- Tom Gorzelanny doesn't mind pitching close to home one bit, especially when he's going against his former team.

Gorzelanny tossed five effective innings, Jeff Baker homered and drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 on Saturday.

Gorzelanny, who grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, was pitching for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis when he got traded to the Cubs on July 30. He allowed only one run on three hits with eight strikeouts, and added an RBI single in the second inning.

"Since I've gotten over here, it's been amazing to be playing in my hometown. My first start here at home was a great feeling," he said. "The crowd was great, it was a pretty good game. It's exciting being home, it's just special."

The Cubs had lost seven of eight before winning 17-2 on Friday night, the woeful Pirates proving the perfect recipe to get back on track. They're 20-6 against Pittsburgh since 2008, while the Pirates have lost 17 of 20 overall.

"You can't mope," said Andrew McCutchen. "It's the game of baseball and it's a weird game and it's going to humble you. So, you just have to stay within yourself and don't try to do too much and just keep going out there and keep playing hard."

Gorzelanny (5-2) certainly knows about being humbled.

He was demoted from Pittsburgh's starting rotation last year, then sent to Indianapolis in June. He didn't expect to see his former teammates sitting in the other dugout, let alone stepping into the batter's box against him.

"It's definitely a weird feeling seeing those guys, especially since I came up with a bunch of those guys," he said, "I took it like it was just another game."

Ted Lilly is expected back next week after a bout with shoulder inflammation, but manager Lou Piniella said Gorzelanny will get at least one more start.

The Cubs bullpen secured the win with four shutout innings. Angel Guzman pitched two, Carlos Marmol worked the eighth and Kevin Gregg finished for his 23rd save in 28 opportunities. He got help from Sam Fuld, who made a running catch into the left-field wall to rob Ramon Vazquez of a hit with one out in the ninth.

"The ball carried more than I thought," Fuld said. "If anything, I had a little more time to at least brace myself from running into the wall this time."

Zach Duke (9-11) went 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits, but again got very little help. The Pirates have only scored four runs in its current four-game losing streak.

"He's been doing that for us a lot this year," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He's been very consistent. It's just unfortunate we don't score many runs when he pitches."

Duke won his first four decisions against the Cubs -- three of them at Wrigley -- but is 0-7 in 12 outings since Aug. 5, 2006.

Milton Bradley and Derrek Lee got to him early with back-to-back singles in the first. Jake Fox followed with a slow roller to second baseman Luis Cruz, who missed the tag on Lee but still got Fox at first. Baker followed with an RBI single, and Lee was thrown out trying to score on a strong throw by McCutchen in center.

Geovany Soto doubled in the second inning and scored on Gorzelanny's single.

Pittsburgh scored its only run in the fifth, when Duke put down a good bunt that he managed to beat out to load the bases. McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly, but Lastings Milledge struck out swinging and Garrett Jones lined out to end the threat.

Baker tagged Duke for a solo shot in the sixth, his second of the season, and made another statement that he should play more regularly. Acquired in a trade from Colorado on July 2, the utility infielder is riding a seven-game hitting streak.

"Whatever it takes," he said. "All I want is to play in the postseason, that's all it is really about."

Game notes
The Pirates recalled Brian Bixler and purchased the contract of RHP Denny Bautista from Triple-A Indianapolis. To make room on the roster, the Pirates also placed RHP Jose Ascanio (shoulder tendinitis) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Aug. 12, and designated OF Jeff Salazar for assignment. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez singled off Duke in a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth inning. He'd been out since Aug. 8 with left shoulder soreness and missed Friday's game with a head cold.