This is the time of the year you hope that your big people get hot and carry you and that's exactly what's happening. It's coming at just the right time,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. ``These are big-game people.''
The Pirates lost their eighth straight, their longest losing streak of the season.
Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke (3-8), making his second appearance and first start since June 28 after spending more than two months on the disabled list because of a sore left elbow, had been especially effective against the Cubs in his career. He entered the game with a 4-1 record and 1.57 ERA against them but they jumped on him quickly, scoring in each of the first three innings.
The lefty lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and five runs - four of them earned.