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updated: 8/2/2011 11:28 PM

Cubs' Colvin makes big splash in win

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  • Tyler Colvin flies out to right-center field in the fourth inning against Pittsburgh Tuesday night.

      Tyler Colvin flies out to right-center field in the fourth inning against Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
    Associated Press

 
 

If you're keeping an eye on the right-field situation for the Cubs, Tyler Colvin had a "look-at-me" night Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Colvin went 3-for-5 with a monster home run that bounced into the Allegheny River beyond the right-field wall at PNC Park.

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It was 1 of 6 home runs hit by the Cubs during an 11-6 victory over the Pirates. The victory was the Cubs' third in a row, marking only the second time this season they've accomplished that.

The Cubs hit 6 homers in a game for the first time since September 2006, and they picked up a season-high 21 hits.

Alfonso Soriano hit 2 homers. Aramis Ramirez hit 1 as did Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd.

The man of the day was Colvin, a key subject of manager Mike Quade's pregame talk with reporters.

Quade raised some eyebrows by sitting Colvin the previous two games in favor of veteran backup outfielder Reed Johnson.

Colvin's benching came on the heels of general manager Jim Hendry saying the Cubs had to get a good look at the 25-year-old outfielder to see what they have for next year and beyond.

Colvin hit 20 homers and had a .500 slugging percentage last year, but he's had on-base issues and found himself in the minor leagues this season after a slow start at the plate.

Kosuke Fukudome won most of the playing time, but he was traded last week. So that naturally opens the door for Colvin, right?

Well, sort of.

"We're committed to finding out about Colvin," Quade told reporters. "He's going to get opportunities, and it's going to be up to him to keep them. I'm going to give him some shots.

"We're talking about a guy we just brought back from Triple-A, a guy who contributed a great deal last year and a young guy who we think is a big part of the future here. So we need to see him get opportunities. Again, it's a fine line if we're just giving a guy something. He has to earn it. And he understands that."

The whole "he has to earn it" statement might raise a few red flags, especially coming from a manager who did not play young catcher Welington Castillo earlier this year when Soto was hurt.

But Colvin can make all that moot by having more nights like Tuesday, when he doubled to right-center in the seventh and singled to the opposite field in left during the ninth.

Quade did say Colvin would play the final three games in Pittsburgh, including Tuesday.

Quade also admitted one thing to reporters: that the Cubs are "spoilers."

The manager didn't want to venture into that territory just a few days ago. But the Cubs lost the first five games of this road trip before winning the next three.

"It's great to play clubs that are contending," Quade said. "You wish you were one of them right now, and you're not. You come out to play every day, but there's a little more impetus when you play contenders, especially contenders in your own division. So for the time being, you just try and make it hard on all of them."

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