Rodriguez puts Cubs on ice
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PITTSBURGH -- The temperature dipped to the freezing mark Wednesday night at PNC Park, but Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez chilled the Cubs to absolute zero.
The veteran lefty gave up just 2 hits in 6 innings as the Pirates evened this season-opening series at a game apiece with a 3-0 victory.
Rodriguez, who spent most of his career with warm-weather Houston, came into the game 11-12 with a 2.95 ERA in the first month of the season.
But more alarming to Cubs manager Dale Sveum after two games was the Cubs being 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-5 Wednesday night. The manager's advice was to "punt" when asked about the cold-weather plan before the game.
"There's no advice when it comes to cold weather," said Sveum, who went with a makeshift lineup of almost all right-handed hitters. "There's a lot of things involved. It's tough. The pitchers are at a disadvantage sometimes, too, with the feel of the ball and all that. But Wandy had a pretty good feel."
Cubs players pointed out that both teams had to deal with the weather. Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson came out of the chute well enough by striking out the side in the first inning. He hit a speed bump, literally and figuratively, in the fourth, when he threw 29 of his 92 pitches.
Jackson, a known "innings eater" during his career, wound up working 5 and taking the loss, as he gave up 3 hits and 2 runs.
"It wasn't too bad," Jackson said of the weather. "Just a couple of times, it was tough to feel the ball, but you just try to manage through it and continue to pitch. Both teams had to play in the same type of weather. Both pitchers had to experience the same thing."
In the fourth, Jackson gave up 2 hits, walked a batter and had a run score on shortstop Starlin Castro's fielding error.
"I just got behind a couple of hitters," Jackson said. "You get a leadoff single and a double (to Andrew McCutchen). I feel I made one mistake that inning, and that was the double. I still feel like we had a chance."
The Cubs got a scare in the seventh, when first baseman Anthony Rizzo was hit near the top of the right arm with a pitch.
"I didn't feel it in my shoulder," said Rizzo, who might have been too numb by the cold to notice. "It just scared the heck out of me. It just scared the whatever out of me."
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