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Rondon riding 15-inning scoreless streak

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- It took some extra work in Venezuela for Cubs reliever Hector Rondon to find his breaking pitches.

Rondon extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings when he pitched the ninth in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Pirates. The stretch dates to Sept. 3 of last season. It ranked among the top three longest such streaks in the Major Leagues.

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CHICAGO -- It took some extra work in Venezuela for Cubs reliever Hector Rondon to find his breaking pitches.

Rondon extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings when he pitched the ninth in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Pirates. The stretch dates to Sept. 3 of last season. It ranked among the top three longest such streaks in the Major Leagues.

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"My mentality is way different," Rondon said Thursday. "I think I trust myself and my command of my pitches. That's the difference right now."

Last September, Rondon, a Rule 5 Draft pick, did not give up a run -- and only served up one hit -- over nine innings in nine relief outings.

"I put in my mind last year, the last month of the season, when it was over, I told the manager [Dale Sveum] that I was going to play winter ball in Venezuela, and I worked on my breaking ball," Rondon said. "I went there and worked on that and came into Spring Training, and I feel really good about how I throw my breaking balls. I did the same thing that I did last September. I think that helped me a lot."

In four games so far, Rondon has given up three hits, walked two and struck out eight over six innings.

"Everything is really good right now," he said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Hector Rondon