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PIT@CHC: Hill throws out Jones trying to steal

CHICAGO -- Randy Wells knows how Paul Maholm shut down the Cubs on Saturday, but he wasn't able to match the Pirates left-hander.

Wells (1-1), making his return from the disabled list, threw 92 pitches in four innings, while Maholm threw 91 in a three-hit shutout to lead the Pirates to a 10-0 win at Wrigley Field.

"The guy's a good pitcher, but he just attacked, attacked, attacked, and all of a sudden, when we went on the attack, he started pitching out of the zone and we started chasing," Wells said. "That's how you get guys to chase pitches."

Maholm (2-7) finally received some run support after the Pirates scored just 13 runs in his first 10 starts. He struck out four and walked none.

"Early in the game the wind was blowing out, so you definitely have to make sure that you keep the ball down here," Maholm said. "I wasn't really worried about anything but getting the first hitter of every inning out and going from there."

Ronny Cedeno, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder and Andrew McCutchen all homered for the Pirates. The Cubs have been outhomered 25-14 at home this season.

Wells, out since his first start of the season April 4, was pulled before the fifth after allowing five runs on five hits, while striking out seven and walking three. He struggled with his control and hung a handful of breaking balls.

Cedeno hit one of them into the right-center-field bleachers for a three-run homer in the fourth after Steve Pearce started the scoring earlier in the inning with a two-run single. Overbay and Snyder connected in the sixth off James Russell, and McCutchen added a two-run homer off Scott Maine in the seventh.

Wells said he felt like he was rushing and jumping toward the plate in his first start back.

"He just wasn't consistent, and the ball was up a little bit more than normal for him," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

Wells, working on a pitch count of 80-90, needed 11 pitches to retire leadoff man Jose Tabata and threw 24 pitches in the first inning. He threw 25 more in the second and needed 55 pitches to get through the Pirates' order once.

"I kind of buried myself there getting behind guys, nibbling with the sinker," Wells said. "The changeup wasn't really effective early. [I] got behind a lot of hitters, ran the pitch count up."

Maholm did the opposite. Darwin Barney said Maholm had control of three pitches and started him with a curveball, cutter and fastball for first-pitch strikes.

"I think he's the kind of guy you've got to capitalize on early because he's throwing a lot of strikes, so when you get behind, it's tough to be patient because he's going to pound the strike zone," said Barney, who went 1-for-4.

The silver lining for Wells was that he felt great after the game.

"Going through the whole rehab process is a tough thing, especially when you've never done it before," he said. "You try to take positives out of every outing."

This was was the fourth time in six games that a Cubs starter was unable to go five innings, meaning Quade again had to lean on his relievers. One of them was Russell, who pitched two innings Saturday.

"I will start watching [the number of Russell's appearances] a lot closer than I've had to in the past," Quade said. "I think the starts that he's made has allowed him to build up arm strength, so he's able to handle the load. But I don't want to overtax him either."

The Cubs had alternated wins and losses the past eight games before losing their second straight Saturday. Carlos Pena was unable to reach base for just the second time in the past 22 games. Comments