Right-hander Charlie Morton makes a fifth attempt at win No. 10 of the season today when his Pittsburgh Pirates visit Wrigley Field for the third and final game of a weekend series with the host Chicago Cubs.
Morton, a third-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2002, got to nine wins this season with a 5-0 defeat of San Francisco on Aug. 8. In that game, he allowed six hits and struck out four in eight innings while improving his record to 9-6.
The 28-year-old is 0-2 in four starts since, including consecutive losses at St. Louis and Houston in which he's been touched for 15 hits and nine runs in 9 2/3 innings.
Morton, who pitched seven innings of scoreless ball for a no-decision in a 1-0 Pittsburgh loss on Aug. 3, is 2-2 in five career starts against the Cubs.
Chicago replies with 29-year-old righty Randy Wells, who's won four straight decisions since late July.
The Illinois native was 2-4 on the season after a loss at Milwaukee on July 28, but has since beaten Pittsburgh, Atlanta (twice) and San Francisco to improve to 6-4 while lowering his earned run average from 6.16 to 5.06.
He improved to 3-2 lifetime against the Pirates after allowing five hits and two runs in six innings of an 11-6 victory on Aug. 2 in Pittsburgh.
The Cubs are 6-4 in his last 10 starts, including five wins in the last six.
On Saturday, Derrek Lee hit a grand slam against his former team with two outs in the ninth to lift the Pirates to a 7-5 victory.
Lee was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and had three hits and knocked in five runs as Pittsburgh won its second straight game on the heels of a five-game losing streak.
The Pirates were able to pull out the win after both teams waited out a 91- minute rain delay in the seventh inning.
Carlos Marmol (2-5) blew his ninth save of the year by allowing Lee's slam to take the loss.
Alfonso Soriano went 2-for-3 with four RBI for Chicago, losers of three straight. Chicago had won four straight over Pittsburgh before this series.
Ross Ohlendorf started the game for Pittsburgh and allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks through four innings, and Casey Coleman lasted six innings, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and three walks while striking out six in the start for Chicago.