Cubs blow three-run lead in loss to Yankees

Starlin Castro gave the New York Yankees an opening, and, boy, did they take advantage of it.

Castro's fielding lapse during the fourth inning helped New York get back into the game, and Nick Swisher hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning to send the Chicago Cubs to a 10-4 loss on Sunday night in the finale of the Yankees' first visit to Wrigley Field in eight years.

"You play 27 outs for a reason and you've gotta keep the pressure on a club like that," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "We just weren't able to cash in."

Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th homer and Aramis Ramirez had four hits for Chicago, which dropped the last two games of the series after winning four of five. Sean Marshall (3-2) pitched a perfect seventh, but failed to record an out in the eighth and was charged with two runs.

"We played so well," Cubs starter Randy Wells said. "It's a shame tonight ended like it did because I thought we played some great baseball. That's the way you want things to be leading up to this game. Just didn't pull through tonight."

Brett Gardner added his first career leadoff homer for the Yankees, who have won eight of 10 since they were swept by Boston in a three-game series at home. Swisher finished with four RBIs and Alex Rodriguez helped spark New York's offense with three hits and a walk.

"Just a total team effort today," Swisher said.

Another boisterous crowd packed Chicago's longtime home for the third straight day, and there were more "Let's go Yankees!" chants from pockets of New York fans, followed by the inevitable boos from the majority of the paid attendance of 41,828. The crowd for the rubber game brought the weekend total to 126,283, setting a Wrigley Field record for a three-game series.

Soriano's three-run shot off CC Sabathia (9-4) made it 4-1 in the third inning, but that was it for the Cubs.

Russell Martin had a tying sacrifice fly in the sixth for New York and Swisher hit a 2-0 pitch from Chris Carpenter deep into the bleachers in right to make it 7-4. The Father's Day shot was Swisher's first homer at the ballpark where his father, Steve, began his major league career in 1974.

"He's my hero, my idol and to be able to give him this gift today, I guess, is just a great day," Nick Swisher said.

Wells gave up four runs and five hits in six innings for Chicago, hurt by costly fielding by shortstop Castro in the fourth.

With one out and Rodriguez on first, Robinson Cano hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Catcher Geovany Soto pounced on the ball and threw to second, but Castro took his foot off the bag early while trying to complete the double play and both runners were safe.

"A young mistake, but an aggressive mistake," Quade said. "These are the things we're trying to clean up."

Swisher responded with a run-scoring single into right field, trimming Chicago's lead to 4-2. After Martin walked, Eduardo Nunez drove in Cano with a groundout. Wells then got Sabathia to fly out to left to end the inning.

"I think the game was decided, as much as anything, in the fourth inning," Quade said. "The eighth and ninth inning is a whole different ballgame if we get through that fourth inning 4-1 or 4-2."

Soriano connected on a 1-1 pitch, hitting a drive to left for his second homer since he came off the disabled list Wednesday after being sidelined with a strained left quadriceps.

Soriano, who played for New York for five seasons before he was traded to Texas in the A-Rod deal, has six career homers against Sabathia, the most for any player against the Yankees ace.

New York added three runs in the ninth, making for an early exit for much of the big crowd. Curtis Granderson hit an RBI triple and scored on Mark Teixeira's double. Rodriguez added another run-scoring double.

NOTES: Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (shoulder inflammation) struck out seven in a rehab appearance with Class A Staten Island, yielding one run and three hits in 4 1-3 innings. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi got up at 6 a.m. and drove two hours to visit his father, Jerry, just outside of Peoria. Girardi's father suffers from Alzheimer's. "Morning was very good. Better than I expected after what I had heard," Girardi said. "His eyes were open. He was moving. He ate well, so it was all good." ... The Cubs and White Sox play for the first time this season on Monday night, opening a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. "I always look forward to these series but getting too high or low probably isn't a good thing for us," Quade said. ... Castro fouled a ball off his left leg in the third but remained in the game after visiting with a trainer. ... Yankees RHP Carlos Silva, sidelined the past couple weeks by right shoulder tightness, allowed two runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.


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