The Pirates arrived in town, and all of the Cubs' troubles melted away, at least for a day.
Philadelphia had just swept a three-game series from Chicago at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs had lost seven of eight to fall 4 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central. But on Friday, Chicago played like a powerhouse against Pittsburgh in a 17-2 victory that set a season high for runs.
The Cubs scored four runs in the first, as Kosuke Fukudome contributed the big blow with a three-run homer. They added 10 more in the second -- the most runs they had scored in an inning since they scored 10 in the fourth against the Cardinals on June 10, 2004. The last time Chicago scored 14 runs in the first two innings of a game was June 7, 1906, against the New York Giants.
The first six batters of the second reached base against Charlie Morton (2-6), who was replaced by Chris Bootcheck after Jake Fox's two-run double made it 8-0. The pitching change didn't help much, as the next three batters all reached. When Jeff Baker pushed the score to 11-0 with a two-run single, the Cubs had batted around without making an out. They plated three more, two on a double by Derrek Lee, before the inning came to a merciful end for the Pirates.
Lee went 3-for-3 with a walk and two doubles and tied a career best with seven RBIs before he left in the fifth inning.
Randy Wells (9-5) was the beneficiary of Chicago's offensive explosion, as he gave up two runs in six innings for the win.
The victory sent Pittsburgh to its 11th defeat in 12 games.