PNC PARK Fogg 'mist-ifies' Cubs as Bucs snap skid
The Pirates pitcher won his second straight game.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
PITTSBURGH -- Once the rain stopped, the Pirates' new Fogg machine proved to be too much for the Chicago Cubs' bats on a sunny Saturday afternoon at PNC Park.
Rookie Josh Fogg's second straight strong game, combined with some timely hitting and two fine defensive plays, helped the Pirates snap a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory.
Fogg (2-0), who came from the Chicago White Sox for Todd Ritchie in an off-season trade, limited Chicago to three hits and one run over seven innings.
"Josh is the pitcher we thought [he would be]," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said after the 25-year-old beat the Cubs for the second time in a week.
"He can throw four pitches for strikes. Today, he gave an outstanding performance in a pretty exciting game."
Pretty play: The Pirates escaped after a strikeout of Sammy Sosa and a game-ending double play that featured a sliding stop by shortstop Jack Wilson and a flip from his glove to second baseman Pokey Reese.
"I'm sure that play will end up in a few highlight reels," McClendon said.
Reese, the former Reds second baseman who signed with the Pirates as a free agent, said, "That was a big-time play by Jack Wilson."
Asked if he was thinking double play when Alex Gonzalez hit the ball up the middle, Reese replied, "I wasn't thinking, I was just reacting to get the ball over to [first baseman] KY [Kevin Young]."
Wilson said he was "at double play depth because I knew [closer] Mike [Williams] was going at him with his slider. If anything, I might have been cheating a little the other way."
Getting out of it: Handed a 3-1 lead, Williams, who picked up his fifth save, was in trouble immediately as Delino DeShields led off with a single to right.
After stealing second base, DeShields held up on Corey Patterson's infield single, then stole third with Sosa at the plate.
On a 1-2 count, Williams caught Sosa looking at strike three.
"It was just a slider, no different than the other three I threw him," Williams said. "They were just sliders. If I did anything different, I don't know what I did."
Williams, who acknowledged his pitches usually break down and away, said the pitch "ended up over the middle of the plate. I think it froze him a little bit."
Cubs manager Don Baylor said, "He made a good pitch there, but we still had opportunities at first and third. We didn't take advantage of the small opportunities that we did have."
After McGriff's single scored DeShields, Gonzalez hit into the double play.
Fogg said his gameplan was to "throw the ball down in the zone early and try to make it move a little bit to have them hit it on the ground, and it worked out great today.
"I have to stay aggressive in the count and try to keep my breaking stuff over [the plate]," he said.
Taking control: Keith Osik's third-inning homer off Cubs starter Matt Clement put the Bucs ahead, 1-0.
Mark Bellhorn's third inning double was the only hit Fogg allowed until DeShields tied the game with a sixth-inning homer.
The Cubs seemingly had Fogg on the ropes in the seventh inning when Sosa singled and Fred McGriff drew the game's only walk.
But there was a pick off at second base and a fine running catch in deep left field.
The Cubs' troubles began when Gonzalez missed a bunt attempt. Catcher Osik fired a strike to Wilson to nail Sosa.
"Once you shuffle off, it's tough to get back," said Osik of Sosa's lead. "As a baserunner, it's a tough play because your tendency is to lean and get to third.
"In the back of my mind, I was hoping that he would bunt through it because I was going to come up throwing," Osik said. "The good thing was the savvy of Jack to get to second."
Two pitches later, left fielder Brian Giles ran backwards to the warning track to snare Gonzalez's line drive.
The Pirates went ahead 3-1 in the seventh inning after Giles doubled and Aramis Ramirez and Craig Wilson contributed RBI singles.
Dshelds 2b4221Mckwk cf4010
Pttrson cf4010Reese 2b4000
SSosa rf4010BGiles lf3120
McGrff 1b3011ARmrz 3b3111
Gnzalez ss4000Rios rf3000
Brown lf3000Fetters p0000
Hndley c0000MWlms p0000
Girardi c3000CWilsn 1b2011
Bllhorn 3b3010ABrwn cf0000
Clment p2000Osik c3111
Stynes ph1000JWilsn ss3000
Fssero p0000Fogg p2000
E--Hundley (1). DP--Chicago 1, Pittsburgh 1. LOB--Chicago 3, Pittsburgh 2. 2B--Bellhorn (1), BGiles (2). HR--Deshields (1), Osik (1). SB--Deshields 2 (4). CS--BGiles (1), ABrown (1).
HBP--by Clement (CWilson). WP--Clement. Umpires--Home, Mike DiMuro; First, Ed Montague; Second, Mike Van Vleet; Third, Hunter Wendelstedt. T--2:23. A--17,971.