Warren Morris' home run and Todd Ritchie's latest strong start got the Pittsburgh Pirates' minds off Jason Kendall and back on baseball.
Morris hit a three-run homer, Ritchie pitched eight effective innings to continue his surprising season, and the Pirates spoiled Sammy Sosa Day by beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1 Tuesday night.
Kevin Young added a two-run homer in the Pirates' first victory since Kendall, their best player and clubhouse leader, tore up his right ankle Sunday and was lost for the season.
"But to see him now, sitting in the hospital and laughing, makes it a lot better. We know now his heart's still pumping and we have to go on."
The Pirates stranded only two runners after leaving 15 on base in a 5-2 loss to the Cubs on Monday.
"We know we're not going to be as good offensively without Jason, so we have to take advantage of every opportunity," manager Gene Lamont said. "But we know we can win without Jason."
Ritchie (8-6), in the minors when the season began, scattered seven hits to tie Jason Schmidt for the team lead in victories and halt Pittsburgh's four-game losing streak.
"Ritchie knows how to pitch," Sosa said. "He threw the right pitch in the right situation."
Sosa, voted to his third All-Star game a few hours after the Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed a day in his honor, hit a sacrifice fly while going 1-for-3.
The Cubs have lost five of six and have gone a month since June 7-8 without winning consecutive games.
Morris, the Pirates' first legitimate rookie of the year contender in years, helped extend Cubs starter Steve Trachsel's losing streak to eight by homering to finish the Pirates' four-run first. Brian Giles also hit a sacrifice fly.
It was a familiar start for Trachsel (2-12), who was pounded for 33 runs in 19 innings in his revious five starts. His losing streak is the longest by a Cubs pitcher since Shawn Boskie also lost eight straight in 1992.
Trachsel is on pace to become the majors' first 20-game loser since Brian Kingman (8-20) of Oakland in 1980.
"The record is the record. I don't even look at it," Trachsel said. "I don't look at my (6.73) ERA, either. I just ask myself, `Did I do the job? Did I give us a chance to win?' I think I did."
Not that it's all that easy for the Cubs to bounce back from a 4-1 deficit. They haven't taken the initial lead and held on to win since June 3, a span of 30 games.
Trachsel settled down to shut out Pittsburgh on three hits over the next five innings, but Ritchie was even better while striking out five and walking two. He has allowed three runs in 15 innings in winning his last two starts.
Before moving into the Pirates' rotation in mid-April, Ritchie's previous 57 career appearances came in relief for Minnesota.
"All I wanted was a chance to start and I'm grateful to Pittsburgh for giving me that chance," Ritchie said. "I know every five days I'm going to get the ball, and they've shown a lot of confidence in me."
Young, in a 4-for-27 slump, hit his 10th homer, in the eighth off Terry Adams.
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