Marshall, Murton march Cubs to win

Marshall, Murton march Cubs past Bucs

CHICAGO -- It won't show in his record, but Sean Marshall got the win Monday night.

The rookie left-hander held Pittsburgh to four hits over 7 1/3 innings in the Cubs' 2-1 victory over the Pirates. Matt Murton hit a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Cubs, who came into the series a little battered after losing 16-2 and 9-0 to the Brewers over the weekend.

"We wanted [Marshall] to get the victory," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said, "but we needed it badly."

With the game tied at 1 and two outs in the eighth, Todd Walker drew a walk against John Grabow (0-1). Salomon Torres replaced Grabow, and he gave up a single to Aramis Ramirez that shortstop Jack Wilson was able to knock down. Murton then smacked a single to center field to score pinch-runner Jerry Hairston Jr.

Murton was batting .391 with runners in scoring position. He likes those situations.

"The more times you come through, the more times you think you're going to come through," Baker said of Murton. "We like to see him come up with runners on base. He has a way of getting hits at the right time."

"That should, hopefully, be every player's goal -- to get up in those situations and want to come through," Murton said. "When the game is on the line, you bear down more. It doesn't always mean you come through. Something I may have done in the past is try to do too much."

Marshall's plan is simple: Throw strikes.

"I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes today, and it helped expand what I was going to throw next. And I had a really good changeup, and I could throw it in any count," Marshall said. "I got a bunch of quick outs, and that was very helpful."

It was the left-hander's longest outing of his five big-league starts. The efficient Marshall retired 10 in a row, walked one and struck out five. He was trying to become the first Cubs rookie to go 3-0 since Frank Castillo in 1991.

"It was a win in my book," Marshall said. "I don't get credit for a win, but we played a great game. We had great defense tonight, and Bob [Howry] came in there and picked me up, and [Ryan Dempster] closed the door."

Not only was Marshall's changeup effective, but he could mix that with his curve. He is impressing the veterans like Howry (2-0), who picked up the win in relief.

"It's not like his first time," Howry said of the rookie. "He doesn't seem like a young guy, nervous. He's real relaxed, calm. He gets guys on base and he doesn't start to get wild or start to pick. He sticks to his game plan and he's successful with it."

"I'm out there to get us a win and pitch as hard as I can every day. I'm just going to have the best time up here that I can. Hopefully, it'll last a long, long time."
-- Cubs rookie
Sean Marshall

"I'm not out there to do bad," Marshall said. "I'm out there to get us a win and pitch as hard as I can every day. In baseball, there's a big turnaround -- guys come, guys go, guys get hurt. I'm just going to have the best time up here that I can. Hopefully, it'll last a long, long time."

Marshall was considered a fill-in until Mark Prior or Kerry Wood was healthy. Now, it will be hard to bump him out of the rotation.

"He pitched an outstanding game," Baker said.

With the win, the Cubs have not lost three in a row this season.

Dempster pitched the ninth to record his seventh save, and 26th in a row, dating back to last season.

"It's way past my bedtime, so it's good," Dempster said of the late-night win.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first when Juan Pierre singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error by Pirates starter Victor Santos, who fielded Ronny Cedeno's sacrifice but overthrew first.

The Cubs missed an opportunity in the fourth when they loaded the bases with none out. Santos got John Mabry to line out to left field, and Jacque Jones was doubled off second on the play. Marshall then struck out.

"We haven't been scoring a lot of runs lately," Jones said. "I was stuck in no-man's land. You look back on it, and it's a dumb decision, but I play hard. I play aggressive."

"When you're not scoring runs, you're always trying to find a way to score a run," Baker said.

In the Pittsburgh seventh, Wilson and Jason Bay each singled. Craig Wilson hit a grounder to third baseman Ramirez, who forced out Bay at second. Jack Wilson ran around Ramirez to get to third, and the Cubs argued he was out of the base path. Third base umpire Kerwin Danley disagreed, and Jack Wilson then scored on Joe Randa's groundout to tie the game.

Marshall, one of three rookies in the Cubs' rotation, walked Ronny Paulino to open the eighth, and Jose Castillo singled. Marshall struck out pinch-hitter Chris Duffy, then he departed to a standing ovation from the crowd of 36,602 at drizzly Wrigley Field. Howry retired the next two batters.

So, after one month in the big leagues and five starts, does Marshall still feel like a rookie?

"I know I'm a rookie," Marshall said. "I feel really comfortable here. The guys have made me feel real welcome. Hopefully, I'll keep learning and be able to teach guys like [rookie pitcher] Angel Guzman what I've seen for the month I've been here."

Hopefully, Marshall sticks around for some time.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.