The Cubs tied a Major League record when they rattled off eight straight hits off Pirates starter Zach Duke to begin the game, the second time the team has done so against Pittsburgh.
"I've just never really seen anything like that," Pirates manager John Russell said. "We just couldn't stop it. I can't explain it. Bad luck or good hitting? I don't know what it was."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the eight straight hits to start a game has been done five other times, most recently Sept. 25, 1990, when the New York Yankees did so against Baltimore. On Sept. 27, 1981, the Oakland Athletics collected eight in a row against the White Sox, and on Aug. 26, 1975, the Pirates did so against Atlanta.
On Aug. 5, 1975, the Philadelphia Phillies hit eight straight against the Cubs, who also turned the trick against the Pirates on April 21, 1973.
On Tuesday, Ryan Theriot got things started against Duke with a single to left. Milton Bradley was safe on a bunt single, and the Cubs loaded the bases on Derrek Lee's soft single to right.
"Off a pitcher like Zach, you really don't expect something like that to happen," Theriot said. "The ball was bouncing our way and it was in our favor in the first inning for sure."
Aramis Ramirez notched hit No. 4 with a single to left, driving in two. Jeff Baker lined a single to right, and Geovany Soto followed with a double to right, the hardest hit ball of the inning, to knock in a pair.
Kosuke Fukudome then lofted a double to left, also driving in two runners, and Bobby Scales finished the stretch with an infield hit. Pitcher Ryan Dempster ended the run when he bunted for a sacrifice.
|Below is a look at the six times in Major League history that a team has begun a game with eight consecutive hits.|
"At least I got to enjoy the hit parade a little bit," said Dempster, who hit an RBI single in the seventh. "It's fun for the guys. As a pitcher, it's great to sit back and get the support. It's fun to score a bunch of runs and see the team relax."
The Cubs almost finished with more hits in the first than the Pirates totaled in the entire game. Pittsburgh racked up nine hits off five Chicago pitchers.
"We came out swinging," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
The Cubs totaled seven runs in the inning, the first time they've done that since Sept. 17, 2006, when Chicago scored seven in the first against the Cincinnati Reds.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.