PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Tyler Colvin had a three-hit night in the Cubs' 11-6 win over the Pirates on Tuesday, hours after manager Mike Quade had expressed confidence in his young player.

Colvin's first hit was a 451-foot home run that cleared the right-field wall and bounced into the Allegheny River. He followed that with a double and a single.

After a successful rookie campaign last season, Colvin has struggled this year. His method of staying confident is simple.

"I just know that it can't get any worse," Colvin said. "I know that I'm working hard, and everything will turn out the way it should at the end."

Colvin will play the rest of the series against the Pirates and probably some games against the Reds later in the week, Quade said.

"We're committed to finding out about Colvin," Quade said. "He's going to get opportunities, and it's going to be up to him to keep them. I'm going to give him some shots."

In 42 games over four stints with the Cubs this season entering Tuesday's game, Colvin was batting just .107, with an OPS of .374. His batting average topped .200 just once, when he was 1-for-4 after two games, and dipped as far as .086 in June.

Tuesday's effort raised his average to .130.

"You can say you don't read it or don't buy into [it] or you don't hear the stuff. [But] when you hear people calling for you to go down or get out of here, it definitely plays with your mind," Tuesday's winning starter, Randy Wells, said. "I think Colvin's handled it real well."

Since his latest callup, from Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, Colvin has gone 4-for-13 with two RBIs in five games. He batted .256 with 25 extra-base hits in 50 games with Iowa. In 2010 he batted .254 with an OPS of .816 in 135 games.

"We're talking about a guy we just brought back from Triple-A, a guy who contributed a great deal last year and a young guy who we think is a big part of the future here," Quade said. "So we need to see him get opportunities. Again, it's a fine line if we're just giving a guy something. He has to earn it. And he understands that."

Cubs' bullpen appears to be set -- for now

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' bullpen has been in flux for most of the season, whether it was a starter joining the 'pen, a reliever making a spot start or different men taking up closing duties.

The confusion has, at times, brought trouble. The Cubs are just 24-for-40 in save situations and have lost 34 games in which they've led, the most in the Majors.

But for now, at least, the bullpen looks to remain stationary.

"As far as role changes, I don't see any," manager Mike Quade said.

Chicago's relief corps has a 3.81 combined ERA this season. James Russell, who went 0-for-5 in five spread-out starts in April and May, is 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in 39 relief appearances. Ramon Ortiz, who made two starts before moving to the 'pen, has allowed one earned run in his last two appearances.

Carlos Marmol, whose inconsistency led the Cubs to explore other options at closer, has recorded two consecutive saves.

"You have faith in all those guys," Quade said. "We'll piece together from the sixth, seventh on, and those guys will do a good job."

Worth noting

• Center fielder Marlon Byrd entered Tuesday's game with 997 hits and 499 runs scored.

• With wins on Sunday and Monday, the Cubs had a chance on Tuesday to win three straight games for just the second time in 2011. They won three straight from July 22-24.