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Cubs keep finding ways to lose

By Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs find all kinds of ways to lose, sometimes in the same game.

On Sunday, they enabled the Reds to score the two go-ahead runs without a hit while committing back-to-back errors. The eventual winning run scored on a bases-loaded walk. And they stranded 12 runners, leaving the bases loaded twice.

Yes, the Cubs have found all kinds of ways to lose, which is why they were again denied a second straight victory, instead losing 4-3.

To make matters worse, the game was saved by ex-Cub Sean Marshall, who was traded for three players in the minor leagues.

And to cap it all off, the Cardinals come to Wrigley Field on Monday with a seven-game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central.

“It’s 15 games,” said catcher Geovany Soto, the guilty party on the two sixth-inning errors. “We’re out to win games. We’ve got to keep positive and play hard, and if we do that, things will change.”

Sunday marked the return of Randy Wells, who had started 82 major league games but began the season on the Triple-A Iowa roster.

Wells, starting for the injured Ryan Dempster, didn’t figure in the final decision, leaving in a 2-2 tie after five innings. He yielded six hits and five walks and twice left the bases loaded.

“I put myself in a couple of jams, and the pitch count got up there,” Wells said. “The walks were negative, (but) getting back out there was fun. I just wish the outcome was a little better.”

Wells allowed two runs in the third, but the Cubs tied it in the fifth with the help of a hit batter by starter Johnny Cueto and an error by Joey Votto.

Then came the fateful sixth, which started with a leadoff walk by reliever Rodrigo Lopez.

Cueto laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Soto’s throw to first hit him in the shoulder and both runners were safe. Zack Cozart then sacrificed, and all of the runners were safe when Soto’s throw was wide of first base.

“Those plays have got to be made, got to,” Soto said.

A grounder scored one run, then reliever Scott Maine hit a batter and walked in a run.

The Cubs didn’t score again until Starlin Castro tripled off Marshall in the ninth and scored on Jeff Baker’s groundout.

For the afternoon, the Cubs were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, with Alfonso Soriano failing twice with the bases loaded. He still has no extra-base hits for the season.

“We battled and got on base but just couldn’t get that big hit,” manager Dale Sveum said.

Castro — hit by a pitch on the left elbow but OK, he said — is one of the few Cubs hitting, although his defense has been spotty. He has a 10-game streak during which he is batting .425 (17-for-40).

“That’s a tough wind blowing in, and their pitching is good,” he said. “Everybody is trying to get a hit, but it didn’t happen. We have to come back tomorrow.”

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