Game-winner Matt Szczur sent to Triple-A

CHICAGO -- A fortunate slip and fall in extra innings Friday gave Matt Szczur the game-winning hit in the Chicago Cubs' dramatic 11-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But because the game lasted 12 innings -- and the Cubs used seven relievers -- Szczur was the unfortunate victim Saturday as a pitcher had to be added to the roster to fortify a tired bullpen.

The Cubs recalled right-hander Brian Schlitter from Triple-A Iowa and optioned Szczur to Iowa before Saturday's game with the Pirates at Wrigley Field.

"Matt was wonderful," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course he didn't like it, but he understood it. That's just the way it had to be. We had to thicken up the pen, and there were just no other options."

Szczur, 25, has batted .172 (5-for-29) with five RBIs in 18 games with the Cubs this season. The move leaves the team with 14 pitchers and just 11 position players on the active roster.

"We wanted to do this just for today, and then we'll figure out tomorrow," Maddon said.

The most likely move is that the Cubs will subtract a pitcher from the roster sometime in the next few days after the bullpen is better rested. But they must wait at least 10 days before recalling Szczur, unless there's an injury.

This is Schlitter's second stint with the Cubs this season. The 29-year-old went 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA (six earned runs in 5 innings) in seven appearances from April 10 to April 26. He had two saves with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances with Iowa during his stay in the minors.

Maddon believes Schlitter has the ability to be more than just a short-term fix for the bullpen.

"The biggest thing with him is, if the guy gets the ball down, we're in good shape. Period," the manager said. "He's a bowling-ball thrower. He should be on the PBA [Professional Bowlers Association]. That's what he should be. Once he gets to be that on a consistent basis, he should be real good."

The Cubs bullpen was roughed up for five runs Friday, but Maddon feels proper pitch location will solve its ills.

"I've always believed every pitch is the right pitch to throw on any count if it's located properly or thrown in the right spot with conviction," he said. "You have to help them get beyond that moment when they start doubting themselves. That's the biggest thing with any player. But when a relief pitcher starts doubting himself or expects something bad to happen again, it probably will. That's hard, man."

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