chicago – Kevin Hart won the game and got traded.
Russ Ortiz lost it and got released.
That was the strange aftermath to the Chicago Cubs’ 12-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.
“It’s a little weird, a little different,” Hart said while still wearing a Cubs’ sweatshirt in a mostly empty clubhouse after his former teammates had rushed off to the airport.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Hart won his third straight start and moments after the game was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player deal that landed John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny with the Cubs.
Ortiz, who gave up nine hits and nine runs in 2 innings, was put on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.
“It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out with Russ,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said.
“He had a few games in there that were pretty good, but just not enough consistency and we need to do that because otherwise you’re going to continue to wear your bullpen out and kill them and we can’t afford to do that.”
Against the Mets five days ago, Ortiz (3-6) yielded five hits and six runs in 4 innings.
“It just wasn’t there, I guess lately. I shouldn’t say ‘I guess.’ It wasn’t there lately,” Ortiz said.
“So, they had to make moves are that going to help. This team has a very good chance to make the playoffs. So, they had to make a move that was going to help that, not hurt it.”
Hart was given big run support in his final appearance with the Cubs. Jake Fox and Milton Bradley hit back-to-back homers to start a five-run third and Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot had four RBI each.
The Cubs have won 11 of 14 games since the All-Star break.
“No idea,” Hart said when asked if he had any inkling he would be dealt.
“I get to hopefully go over there and move into the rotation and never give it up,” he added.
Hart gave up six hits and three runs, including homers to Carlos Lee and Kaz Matsui, in his six innings.
“It was not an easy thing to do, knowing that our starting pitcher was probably going in this deal today,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.
But he said after the game that Hart was “great, he understood.”