Published November 20, 2014
The Cubs made amends, then lost again.
Matt Garza came off the disabled list and lasted four innings Monday night, but couldn't get the Cubs out of their slump. Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer and drove in four overall, and the Cincinnati Reds pulled away to an 8-2 victory that added to the Cubs' misery.
Chicago has lost seven in a row, its deepest slump since it also lost that many last July 27-Aug. 3.
"We're just in a tough place right now," Garza said. "There's still four months of baseball to play, boys. So there's a lot of stuff to turn. Some guys are going good right now for other clubs, but they're going to hit a rough spot."
Gomes has been doing well against the Cubs. The outfielder has only two homers since April 17, both of them setting up wins over the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is 5-1 against Chicago and 17-5 over the last two seasons.
"Again, it's a lot of the same stuff," manager Mike Quade said of his struggling offense. "We haven't been able to get the three-run homer Gomes provided for them."
Garza (2-5) came off the disabled list and lasted four innings, giving up four runs. Mike Leake (5-2) had an RBI single off the right-hander, who hadn't pitched since May 17 because of a sore elbow.
Garza gave up six hits and walked three in four innings, throwing 81 pitches. His breaking ball wasn't very sharp, which wasn't surprising.
"Physically I felt fine," Garza said. "I was a little off. That's not what I wanted. I wanted to come with five or six strong (innings) and do what I usually do. I felt strong. I think it was just mainly 17 days of not facing a hitter."
Gomes singled home a run off Garza in the second inning. He connected for his eighth homer off Jeff Samardzija, making it 7-2 in the fifth inning and giving the Cubs another bad memory. Gomes ended a monthlong homer drought with a two-run shot that set up a 7-4 win over the Cubs on May 16 and prompted Quade to call a closed-door meeting with his players.
It didn't get any better in the Cubs' return.
Drew Stubbs hit a solo homer, and Jay Bruce had three hits and scored three times, helping the Reds win for only the sixth time in 19 games.
Leake gave up 10 hits and two runs in eight innings, improving to 3-0 in four career starts against the Cubs. He also ended a streak of 19 consecutive innings with at least one baserunner against Reds pitching.
The Cubs have repeatedly wasted scoring chances during their stretch of 10 losses in 12 games. They did it again on Monday, adding to their growing frustration.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano made amends before the game, apologizing to Carlos Marmol. Zambrano second-guessed the closer's pitch choices after a 3-2, 10-inning loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Zambrano also said after Sunday's loss that the Cubs were embarrassing and playing like a Triple-A team.
A moment out of Rookie League helped sink them on Monday.
Kosuke Fukudome and Darwin Barney reached in the third inning. With two outs, Carlos Pena singled sharply to right field, where Bruce came up with the ball quickly. Fukudome was held at third base. Pena assumed Fukudome would try to score and headed for second, then was tagged out before he could get back.
Fukudome, Barney and third base coach Ivan De Jesus stood motionless for a few seconds, stunned by the rally-killing lapse.
"You drop your head and you head for second being aggressive, and you look up and you're in no-man's land," Quade said. "A veteran guy — I'm surprised to see that."
NOTES: The Cubs sent LH reliever Scott Maine back to Triple-A Iowa to open a roster spot for Garza. ... CF Tyler Colvin extended his slump to 0 for 32. ... The Reds freshened their bullpen by calling up and optioning RH Chad Reineke to Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati's bullpen leads the league in innings. ... 3B Scott Rolen was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day with an illness. He's in a 3 for 18 slump. ... Bruce extended his hitting streak to eight games. He was the NL's player of the month for May.