Shawon Dunston found himself staring at the mound Wednesday, wondering whether the fastball was going to be behind pitch No. 1, pitch No. 2 or pitch No. 3.
"I was swinging at curveballs in the dirt the whole series, so I was hoping for a fastball," Dunston said after his two-run, eighth-inning homer lifted the Chicago Cubs to a 9-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago.
"The funny thing," continued Dunston, "is that when the wind blows in, I usually pull it and when the wind blows out, I usually go the other way."
Wednesday's homer, his 13th of the year and the most by any Cub shortstop since Ernie Banks hit 29 in 1961, took advantage of a 16 m.p.h. wind from the southeast and rode comfortably into the left field stands.
It made a loser of the third Pirates' pitcher, reliever Don Robinson, 2-2.
"It was crazy. You just can't tell in this park," Chicago Manager Gene Michael said. "It's hard to know when the game is over here."
The Cubs trailed, 8-6, heading into the bottom of the eighth. Leon Durham, who homered earlier, led off with a double off Pat Clements. Jody Davis greeted Robinson with a single and Jerry Mumphrey's sacrifice fly scored Durham, setting the stage for Dunston.
The winner was Frank DiPino, 2-7, who pitched one-third of an inning. Lee Smith got his 23rd save by pitching the final inning.
The Pirates had success early and often against Chicago starter Rick Sutcliffe. Johnny Ray's double in the first scored Barry Bonds, and Bobby Bonilla scored Ray with a single.
Durham's homer made it 2-1 in the second, but the Pirates got that back in the following inning on a one-out double by Bonds and an RBI single from Ray.
Pitcher Rick Reuschel then helped his own cause by driving in one of two Pittsburgh runs in the top of the fourth and Joe Orsulak doubled home Reuschel.
The second of four Cubs homers, No. 16 by Gary Matthews, narrowed the margin to 5-2. Chicago tightened it further with a pair of runs in the fifth. Dunston and Manny Trillo singled, then shortstop Rafael Belliard dropped Ray's relay on a groundball by Bobby Dernier, loading the bases.
Ryne Sandberg took advantage by singling home two runs.
The Pirates' got two more runs in the seventh. Bonds singled to start the inning and, one out later, Sid Bream tripled. Bonilla then bunted between the mound and the charging Trillo at third base to score Bream for a 7-4 edge.
But Trillo led off the seventh with his first homer this year. One out later, Sandberg singled, and later scored on a Moreland double.
Bonds' run-batted in double in the top of the eighth made it 8-6.