Cubs 4, Pirates 1

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Dave
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Wednesday's game seemed to have it all: the first hit of a career, a defensive gem at the plate and a Lou Piniella ejection, all in that order.

Oh, yes, and a win.

Chicago defeated Pittsburgh, 4-1, on Wednesday night in front of 15,770 at PNC Park. The Cubs finished the 10-game road trip with a 3-7 record.

Sam Fuld filled in at leadoff, and he didn't have to wait long to get his first Major League hit. He doubled on the third pitch of the game in his first at-bat since Sept. 30, 2007.

"It felt great to get the first one out of the way in the first inning," Fuld said. "It kind of took the edge off the rest of the night. I felt comfortable all night long -- I really couldn't have asked for a better night."

Two batters later, Fuld scored his first run of the season when Derrek Lee blasted a home run to center field. Lee's 12th long ball of the season made him the first Cubs player to top 40 RBIs this season. He has hit safely in 26 of his last 28 games.

The Pirates got one run back in bottom of the first and almost tied the game in the fifth.

Freddy Sanchez hit a two-out single to left and Jack Wilson attempted to score from second. But Fuld threw home to catcher Geovany Soto, who blocked Wilson from the plate.

"It was huge," Cubs starter Randy Wells said. "Sam Fuld, man, he gets to so many balls. He made a [heck] of a play throwing that guy out -- the perfect throw."

Thanks to that play, the Pirates didn't score after the first. Wells tossed seven innings, giving up just one run on six hits for his third victory of both the 2009 season and his Major League career.

Wells attributed his success to his ability to continue to do what he's done all season: change speeds and throw an arsenal of pitches.

"When I converted [from being a reliever], I was never taught to just come out and just blow balls by people," Wells said. "I had to switch speeds, I had to throw sliders, I had to throw changeups, I had to sink the ball and I had to throw strikes, most importantly. I've never lost that mentality, and I remember when I got called up to make that first start, I told myself, 'Just be who you are.' "

With their lead intact, the Cubs added an insurance run in the sixth, when Kosuke Fukudome went deep for his first home run since May 26, also against Pittsburgh.

Despite going 3-7 on the 10-game road trip, Wednesday marked the third time the Cubs have had a multi-homer game since June 25.

"It was a bad pitch," Pirates starter Virgil Vasquez said. "Right down the middle, 3-2. He got it. I'm not getting that one back."

Later in the inning, Chicago threatened to score again when Soto hit a stand-up triple -- his first three-bagger of the season. His last triple came Aug. 19, 2008.

Vasquez then intentionally walked Andres Blanco so he could face Wells. Wells hit a sharp grounder back to Vasquez, who bobbled the ball for a moment before throwing out Wells at first on a close play to end the inning.

Piniella quickly came out of the dugout to argue the call, throwing down his cap before being tossed by first-base umpire Chad Fairchild.

"I think the cap did it," Piniella said. "I didn't have to say much after the cap. I think the cap said it all. The umpire missed the call, what can I say? I saw it very plain from where I was. But what are you going to do?"

But the Cubs did add a fourth run when Soto singled home Milton Bradley in the eighth.

Soto went 5-for-10 in the three-game set, giving him the most hits he's had in a series since he hit five against the Marlins from May 1-3.

For the second time in three games, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg threw scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth, respectively to clinch the win. Gregg has given up just two runs in his last past 13 appearances, and the Cubs gave up just five runs in the series.

"Wells did an outstanding job," Piniella said. "Marmol and Gregg finished it out. Our pitching was the story today, and just enough hitting."


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