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CHC@PIT: Bedard fans 11 over seven strong innings

Erik Bedard didn't receive the result he was looking for in his last trip to the mound.

Outdueled by the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija, Bedard took the loss last week at PNC Park, where the lefty limited Chicago to two hits and one run over seven innings of a 2-0 loss.

Pittsburgh's shot at payback begins Monday, when the Bucs send Bedard to the mound against the Cubs' Justin Germano in the first of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

"He made pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Bedard's last outing. "It was fun to watch him go to work with the fastball-curveball-changeup combination -- but the breaking ball became very effective."

In taking the loss, Bedard tied a season high with 11 strikeouts while issuing two walks.

Germano, who will be making his first start of 2012, was acquired from Boston on July 19. He has made two Major League appearances this season, allowing a one run on 10 hits in 8 2/3 innings of work.

"He's crafty -- he's not going to light up a radar gun but he's got great arm speed on all his offspeed pitches and can change speeds on a slow curveball, [and throw] anywhere from 68-75 [mph], 78-mph curveball, changeup," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who expects Germano to throw 80-90 pitches on Monday. "He sinks the ball, keeps the ball down. He's kind of crafty as much as anything, but has command of four pitches."

The Cubs enter Monday's meeting as winners of two straight series. The Pirates have won four of their last five games.

Pirates: Long ball has been friendly
• The Bucs have homered in a team-record 19 straight road games, knocking a total of 40 balls out of the park in that span. Pittsburgh leads all Major League teams with 72 home runs on the road this season.

• Pirates catchers Rod Barajas (nine) and Michael McKenry (eight) have combined to hit 17 home runs this season. In the NL, only Atlanta (22) and Colorado (21) have received more taters from their catchers. St. Louis is tied with Pittsburgh at 17.

• Garrett Jones hit an estimated 423-foot blast to right field on Sunday. He now has 16 home runs, third most on the team. Jones has gone deep three times in his last six games.

Cubs: Soriano lights up Pittsburgh pitching
• Alfonso Soriano has played a half-season's worth of games against the Pirates in his career. In that time, he has hit .321 with 26 home runs and 62 RBIs. When the Cubs visited PNC Park last week, Soriano went 4-for-8 with two doubles and a homer, driving in four runs and scoring one more.

Soriano has hit 19 home runs, needing one more for his 11th straight season with at least 20 big flies. By going deep on Monday, he would enter the company of Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, who is currently the only player to hit 20 or more long balls in each of his first six seasons with the Cubs.

In 15 plate appearances against Bedard, Soriano is batting .545 (6-for-11) with three doubles, one home run and three RBIs. He has walked three times, while striking out once.

Worth noting
• This week's series marks the third time this season that the Pirates and Cubs have gotten together. Both of the previous occurrences happened at PNC Park, where the home team swept a three-game series from May 25-27 but dropped two of three on July-23-25.

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