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Saunders throws well but Diamondbacks lose to Cubs

On Saturday they played in summer-like conditions in Denver, on Sunday they were snowed out at Coors Field and then the Arizona Diamondbacks came to Chicago to start a three-game series on a chilly, 47-degree day.

After such an array of weather, turns out their bats were a little on the cold side as well — especially after the first inning.

Willie Bloomquist hit a leadoff homer for Arizona's only run and the Diamondbacks stranded 11 runners Monday in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"We're getting the guys on. We'll start to come up with timely hits as we get going," Bloomquist said. "The main thing is we're putting good at-bats on guys. It's just a matter of putting good at-bats in the right situation. I'm confident we'll start doing that."

Arizona had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth inning before Cubs reliever Kerry Wood escaped by throwing a third strike past Ryan Roberts and retiring Gerardo Parra on a fly ball. Chicago then added two runs in the bottom of the inning.

"It hurts when you leave so many guys on. It could cost you a game and that's what happened," said Miguel Montero, who was intentionally walked by Wood to load the bases after Justin Upton reached on an error and Russell Branyan singled.

"Pretty obvious. We didn't execute as good as we needed to there," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

The Diamondbacks finished with eight hits and had two stolen bases, while another runner was thrown out.

"We were aggressive today like I wanted to be. We want to continue to push the envelope," Gibson said.

Arizona lefty Joe Saunders, who was supposed to pitch Sunday in Colorado before the game was postponed by a mix of rain and snow, allowed five hits and two runs in six innings, yielding a tying solo homer to Alfonso Soriano.

Saunders' inability to make a fielding play in the fourth helped the Cubs score the go-ahead run on Carlos Pena's sacrifice fly.

Upton caught Pena's liner to right and made a strong throw to the plate that wasn't in time to get Marlon Byrd as the Cubs went up 2-1.

Byrd had reached on an infield single up the first base line when Saunders picked up the ball and flipped it awkwardly away from the bag. Aramis Ramirez singled and Geovany Soto worked a walk to load the bases.

"That little flip," Saunders said. "I make the play 99 out of 100 times. Today I didn't make it. I'm mad at myself for that."

NOTES: Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell held the same job the previous four years with the Cubs. Trammell, once a star shortstop for the Tigers, worked with Chicago SS Starlin Castro last season. And before Monday's game, Castro thanked Trammell for all his help. "That means a lot," Trammell said. "It's something that even though I'm not there anymore, he'll be somebody I'll be following for the rest of his career. That's how much he means to me." ... Barry Enright will start for Arizona on Tuesday but Gibson still hadn't settled on his pitcher for Wednesday's series finale. ... It was Bloomquist's first career leadoff homer.