Michael McKenry, left, and Pedro Alvarez, right, watch as starter Erik Bedard tosses the ball in the air after giving up a three-run home run to the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo in the fifth inning Monday in Chicago.
Jim Prisching/Associated Press
Pittsburgh Pirates' Erik Bedard pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 30, 2012, in Chicago.
By Michael Sanserino Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CHICAGO -- The second half of the season had been going so well for Erik Bedard.
But progress turned putrid Monday at Wrigley Field.
Bedard was clubbed by the Cubs, who tagged the Pirates' left-hander for a season high nine runs, eight earned, in a 14-4 rout.
It was the 12th loss of the season for Bedard, the most in the major leagues, and this one came after an extra two days of rest as the Pirates added Wandy Rodriguez to the rotation.
"Two days extra, it makes everything feel better," Bedard said. "But it didn't help, though."
What plagued Bedard Monday was his inability to put hitters away. Of the seven hits he allowed over 41/3 innings, three were on two-strike counts.
"They kept fouling off pitches," catcher Michael McKenry said.
"They kept fouling off the good ones, waiting for that one mistake. They weren't missing that mistake tonight."
A pair of three-run home runs sunk Bedard, who left the game after 41/3 innings, having surrendered seven hits. The first three-run blast gave the Cubs a two-run lead in the fourth inning. The second put the game out of reach.
Bedard had not allowed a home run since the All-Star break and had allowed two earned runs over 132/3 in two starts since. He struck out seven batters and walked two.
"He was making some good pitches," McKenry said.
"They jumped on them. It was just one of those days. Had some weird hops, some weird bounces, balls that found some holes and then some big swings."
The Cubs (43-58) scored nine runs in the fifth inning, including four off Pirates reliever Chris Resop, who served up a two-run homer to Starlin Castro as the Cubs surged ahead, 13-2.
An inning earlier, someone in the Pirates' dugout pointed to the hand operated scoreboard at Wrigley Field to show Pirates manager Clint Hurdle that the Los Angeles Angels had scored nine runs in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees.
"I said, 'Man, that's probably a hard inning,'" Hurdle said.
"Then, we walked through one, played through one, pitched through one an inning later."
The fifth inning featured 12 Cubs batters, eight hits and a fielding error by Pedro Alvarez that got the whole inning started.
Emblematic of how bad things were going for the Pirates (58-44), a ground ball that David DeJesus hit down the right-field line, which could have ended the inning, bounced off first base and rolled into right field, allowing two runs to score.
It also featured a trade, as the Cubs' starting centerfielder, Reed Johnson, was pulled from the on-deck circle about an hour before it was announced he was traded to the Braves, along with former Pirate Paul Maholm.
Fittingly, Johnson was the only starting position player who didn't have a hit against the Pirates on Monday.
Later in the game, the Cubs traded starting catcher Geovany Soto to the Rangers.
Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs slugging rookie, cranked his eighth home run in 28 games this season -- the second of Bedard's home run balls.
The eight earned runs are the second most allowed by a Pirate starter this season, second only to A.J. Burnett's 12-run outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in May.
Pirates rookie Starling Marte went 3 for 4 with an RBI, boosting his average to .318. He entered the game -- the fifth of his major league career -- with a .222 average.
Chicago starter Justin Germano earned the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits in five innings. It was his first win in three starts this season.
Hurdle said the poor outing by Bedard -- the second consecutive bad start by a Pirates pitcher -- should not be taken as a sign that the Pirates' season is falling apart.
"It's a long season," he said. "Sometimes these things grab you. This one grabbed us."