What offensive problems?
Chicago rattled off eight straight hits to lead off a seven-run first inning and tie a Major League record en route to a 9-4 victory Tuesday night over the Pittsburgh Pirates. And it's the second time the Cubs have collected eight hits in a row to start a game against the Bucs.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, eight consecutive first-inning hits to start a game has been done five other times, most recently Sept. 25, 1990, when the New York Yankees did so against Baltimore. The Cubs did it to the Pirates back on April 21, 1973, at Wrigley Field. WGN Radio's Ron Santo took part with a double in the six-run first.
On Tuesday, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome each drove in two runs during the hit parade to back Ryan Dempster (9-8), who scattered eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. One of those was a solo homer with one out in the Pirates' third by Garrett Jones, his 19th. That, and seeing golf legend Arnold Palmer, who was toasted in honor of his 80th birthday, were the highlights for Pirates fans in the crowd of 17,862.
Ryan Theriot got things started against Pittsburgh's Zach Duke (10-14) with a leadoff single and Milton Bradley was safe on an infield hit. The Cubs loaded the bases on Derrek Lee's single to right. Ramirez kept it going with a single to left, driving in two. Jeff Baker then singled, and Soto followed with a two-run double.
Fukudome lofted a double down the left-field line, driving in two, and Bobby Scales finished the streak with an infield hit. Dempster made the first out of the game when he bunted for a sacrifice. However, the pitcher did make up for that with a RBI single in the seventh.
Micah Hoffpauir, who replaced Bradley defensively in the first, belted his ninth homer leading off the Cubs fourth off Duke, who served up 12 hits over four innings. Bradley was lifted as a precautionary measure because of tightness in his legs.
With the win, the Cubs now are 25-7 against the Pirates since Sept. 1, 2007, and won their first road series since taking two of three against Cincinnati from Aug. 3-5.