Lefthander Chris Rusin, 25, is among the pitchers who will try to contend for a starting role in spring training. He is making a good impression so far.
In his second start against Pittsburgh in a week, Rusin went five innings and gave up two runs on four hits to gain his first major league victory--and reduce the Cubs ``magic number'' to avoid 100 losses to six.
``He had a lot more life on everything [he threw],'' manager Dale Sveum said. ``When you strike out Andrew McCutcheon [the Pirates' MVP candidate] twice, you're doing something right.''
Rusin struck out six without issuing a walk and didn't allow a hit until the fifth.
``They're a good team, but regardless of who it is, I just try to do the best I can,'' he said of the Pirates.
Last week, he also worked five innings against Pittsburgh, giving up a run on five hits but wasn't involved in the decision of the eventual Cubs' victory.
Closer Carlos Marmol recorded his 19th straight save, with an 0.49 ERA in those opportunities since May 2. He has 20 saves overall, his third straight season with 20 or more saves.
Right-hander Jason Berken, who was acquired on waivers from Baltimore Sept. 7, makes his first Cubs start Saturday.
Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson returned to the lineup Friday after in-game injuries on the road trip. Jackson had been out since Sept. 7 after injuring his knee colliding with the wall in Pittsburgh making a dazzling catch while Rizzo missed Wednesday's game in Houston after a collision at first base.
Rizzo went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a walk while Jackson made a diving catch of Pedro Alvarez' sinking fly in the eighth.
Darwin Barney has a nine-game hitting streak to go with his streak of 129 consecutive errorless games.
Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Since his major league debut on May 7, 2010, he leads all National League players with 508 hits.