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Freddy’s big night; Capps goes for X-rays

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CHICAGO — Frustrated by a run of strikeouts and pop-ups, Freddy Sanchez shortened his swing two days ago. The tweak paid off tonight, as he became the first Pirate in 19 years to get six hits in a game.

Sanchez’s 6-for-6 night accounted for three RBI. It included a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Ryan Dempster.

Wait a minute … a shorter swing AND a home run? How is that possible?

“That, I don’t know,” Sanchez said, grinning. “It’s one of those days, I guess. Hopefully, I can keep it going. It was a nasty pitch, and I just threw my bat out at it.”

With a double, single and homer by the fourth inning, Sanchez had three at-bats to triple and hit for the cycle. “I never really got the opportunity and that was the last thing on my mind,” Sanchez said. “You can’t be picky.”

Sanchez said he felt “a little stiff” yesterday, when he went 2 for 5 with the revamped swing against the White Sox. The Pirates needed every hit he could muster tonight against the Cubs; even with a season-high 18 hits, the Pirates had to hold on for a bumpy, 10-8 victory.

“It wouldn’t have been the same if we hadn’t pulled out the win,” Sanchez said.

• As of midnight CT, there was no update on the condition of closer Matt Capps, who left the game after being struck on the right elbow by Geovany Soto’s line drive. Capps was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for X-rays.

“It hit pretty much right on (the elbow), a little toward the tricep,” manager John Russell said. “There was a lot of numbness. It hit pretty much right on (the elbow), a little toward the tricep. He was evaluated (in the clubhouse) by the doctor. The numbness and tingling subsided, range of motion is pretty good.”

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