Posted: Sep 15, 2012 12:39 PM
In his Wrigley Field debut, former Kentucky left-hander Chris Rusin picked up his first MLB win, tossing five innings with a career-high six strikeouts for the Chicago Cubs' 7-4 winning effort against the playoff contending Pittsburgh Pirates, on Friday afternoon.
The native of Canton, Mich., made his fourth career big league start in the day game at Wrigley Field, with his three previous MLB starts coming on the road. Rusin worked five innings, allowing four hits and two runs, not permitting a walk. At the plate, Rusin went 1-for-3 and now owns a .286 (2-for-7) average after also tripling in his first MLB at bat. The 6-foot-2 lefty struck out National League MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen twice and also picked off his first career runner in the fourth inning. The start was Rusin's second consecutive against the playoff hunting Pirates.
Rusin, who starred for the Wildcats from 2006-09, carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, also working a perfect game in the first three innings of his MLB debut on Sept. 4. In his first four MLB starts, Rusin has a 1-2 record and a 5.06 ERA, tossing 16 innings, allowing 18 hits, nine runs, walking six and striking out 15.
"Crazy," Rusin said in a postgame interview with MLB.com about what his MLB debut has been like, with the lefty still chilled after his celebratory beer shower. "I don't think it's hit me yet. It'll hit me in the offseason when I've had time to think about it. Right now I'm pretending I'm still in Triple-A and doing what I do."
During his minor league season with the Cubs, Rusin made 24 starts with an 8-8 record and a 4.59 ERA in Triple-A. In 133.1 innings, Rusin walked 55 and struck out 87.
During his career at UK, Rusin appeared in 56 games with 45 starts, owning a 23-11 record and a 4.14 ERA. He finished his career ranked second in UK history in wins, second in strikeouts, fourth in innings, fourth in win-loss percentage (.677), fourth in starts and 10th in complete games (eight).
In 2008, Rusin helped lead UK to a 44-win season with a 6-3 mark and a 3.33 ERA to earn first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors. Following the 2009 season, he was the 140th overall player picked in the MLB Draft, going to the Cubs in the fourth round, a year after returning to UK for his senior season as a 23rd round pick.