Garza leads Cubs against D'backs

Matt Garza is the scheduled starter for the Chicago Cubs' opener of a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But that could change before the first pitch is thrown on Monday night, or it could be Garza's last start with the Cubs.

Either way, Garza is doing what he is paid to do: win games.

The right-hander is again slated to take the mound under a cloud of trade rumors given that the Cubs are 16 games out of first place in the NL Central. But he hasn't let the talks affect him on the mound, winning five straight starts while posting a 1.24 earned run average in his last six since a loss on June 11.

Garza extended his personal win streak on July 13 versus St. Louis, scattering two runs, a season-high 10 hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings.

"You get caught up in it, but I've been through it so much that I'm just oblivious to it until something happens," Garza said of the trade rumors. "It's stressful, but at the same time, I have a great outlook. I get to pitch every five days. I just keep going and keep looking forward to that next five days."

The 29-year-old is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts this year, including a 3-0 road record with a 2.23 ERA. He beat Arizona back on May 31 with seven innings of two-run ball, moving to 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in four lifetime meetings against the club.

The Cubs began a 10-game road trip with three games in Colorado and lost the final two games of the series. They dropped Sunday's finale 4-3 as the Rockies went ahead for good with a two-run sixth frame.

Anthony Rizzo had a homer and Starlin Castro posted four hits for the Cubs, who went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We had guys on all day and we just didn't get that big hit," said Rizzo. "Hats off to them for making the pitches they needed to make but we just need to keep fighting and keep plugging away."

That is what the Diamondbacks are trying to do as they avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. Arizona claimed a 3-1 victory on Sunday to stay a half-game ahead of the surging Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.

"We're ready for the long haul and we understand there's going to be a lot of frustrations along the way," said D'backs manager Kirk Gibson. "We know we need to play better."

Cody Ross had a two-run single in the eighth inning and Randall Delgado earned the win by logging 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to 22-year-old Tyler Skaggs tonight for his sixth start of the season and 12th of his career.

After throwing eight scoreless innings to beat Colorado on July 5, he did not factor into an extra-inning 7-5 home loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers five days later. Skaggs yielded three runs over just 4 1/3 innings of work.

The left-hander is 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA this season and has never before faced the Cubs.

The D'backs won two of three versus the Cubs in Chicago from May 31-June 2 and won five of the six meetings at home a season ago.