When Tom Gorzelanny was pulled in the eighth inning Tuesday night, the Cubs fans in the crowd of 17,992 at Great American Ball Park gave him a standing ovation.
That's a little unusual on the road.
"It was great," Gorzelanny said. "It shows how big this team is, having more fans here than the home team. It's definitely a different feeling coming from where I came from. It was something I'll probably remember for a while."
There were definitely more Cubs fans at the Cincinnati Reds' home park for the North Siders' 6-3 victory than there have been in Pittsburgh in games when Gorzelanny pitched for the Pirates.
"More than likely -- I can pretty much guarantee that one," Gorzelanny said.
He appreciated the salute. It's been more than a year since Gorzelanny won a big league game as a starter. Since then, he made six Major League starts in 2008, endured a long offseason, pitched in 10 relief appearances for Pittsburgh plus another 15 Minor League starts with Triple-A Indianapolis and changed uniforms.
On Tuesday, he celebrated his first win in his first start with the Cubs as Kosuke Fukudome smacked his first career leadoff home run, Derrek Lee added a solo shot, and Koyie Hill hit a two-run double.
"What a nice first impression," Hill said of Gorzelanny. "It's really good for him to get off to a first start. It's going to be big for us."
Acquired on July 30 from the Pirates in a five-player deal, Gorzelanny (4-1) held the Reds to three hits over 7 1/3 innings, striking out six. He also helped himself with an RBI single in Chicago's four-run sixth. The Cubs didn't know they got another pitcher who could hit.
"I didn't know, either," Gorzelanny said. "Don't get used to it."
He was pulled with two on and one out in the eighth, and Sean Marshall allowed one of the runners to score when he gave up a two-out RBI single to Joey Votto. Angel Guzman served up a two-run homer to Wladimir Balentien in the ninth. Those were the only glitches for the Cubs, who seem to have made the right move at the Trading Deadline.
"He did everything well," Hill said of Gorzelanny. "He told me he likes to work fast, likes to work quick, kind of [Mark] Buehrle-esque but not quite that fast. We went out there with a good game plan and communicated well."
Gorzelanny had not pitched in the big leagues since June 9 when he made a relief appearance for the Pirates. He was then assigned to Indianapolis and made 15 starts there before the deal. This was Gorzelanny's first Major League start since Sept. 10, and his first win as a starter since June 24, 2008.
"It's tough for anybody in Triple-A," Gorzelanny said. "Everybody wants to be in the big leagues. I knew my situation there and I didn't let it bother me. I just wanted to keep going out there to do my best. I thought some other team would hopefully give me a chance, and the Cubs did that, and I want to show I can do the things I've been doing all year."
John Grabow, whom the Cubs also acquired from the Pirates in the deal, delivered a shaving-cream pie in the face to Gorzelanny after the game. It wasn't necessary but appropriate.
"He threw the ball well, was in command, threw strikes -- it was really a nice performance," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Gorzelanny maintained his velocity throughout his outing and walked one, which also impressed Piniella.
"That's a big thing for me is to cut down the walks," Gorzelanny said. "I've had trouble with that in the past. I attribute that [tonight] to getting ahead of guys."
Was he nervous?
"It was the same mentality I've had all year," he said. "It's definitely a different situation to go out and pitch for a new team, but I had a game plan in my head and thoughts in my head of what I wanted to do."
He's penciled in to make two more starts, going Sunday in Colorado. When Ted Lilly returns to the rotation, the Cubs will have to make a decision on what to do with Gorzelanny.
"Ted's the guy, that's his spot," the newest Cubs pitcher said. "I just want to do my job to fill in. Hopefully, when Ted comes back, I can go to the bullpen and help out there or if they need me to keep starting -- whatever they need me to do -- as long as I'm here."
With the win, the Cubs have won 14 of 19 games since the All-Star break, the best mark in the National League.
Fukudome kicked things off with his eighth homer, driving a 3-2 pitch from Johnny Cueto (8-9) into the right-field seats. He's now batting .338 in the leadoff spot.
"I think the team's winning and I'm hitting well," Fukudome said, "and I think [batting] first is actually a good thing to do right now for myself and the team."
Will the Cubs see more power?
"I was closing my eyes and swung," Fukudome said of his home run.
The Cubs batted around in the sixth. With one out, they loaded the bases for Hill, who doubled to left-center, his second double of the game. Two runs scored, and Gorzelanny followed with an RBI single to chase Cueto. Fukudome greeted Daniel Ray Herrera with an RBI single.
Lee led off the seventh with his 22nd homer and 150th with the Cubs. Next up is Andre Dawson at 174.
Ryan Theriot was hit on the right elbow by a pitch in the third inning, but the Cubs were short-handed as far as middle infielders go. They put Andres Blanco on the disabled list to make room to add Gorzelanny. Blanco has a left calf strain.
After Tuesday's performance, the Cubs were more than happy to make room for the lefty.
"You can't pitch any better than he pitched," Piniella said.