The Chicago Cubs saw their losing streak extend to 12 games Sunday after falling 10-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They completed a winless six-game road trip and have now been swept in four consecutive series.
How it happened: Matt Garza struggled for the second consecutive start as the Pirates crushed three home runs off the right-hander while sending the Cubs to another defeat. Garza gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and a walk over five innings. The Cubs were held scoreless until the eighth inning when Tony Campana grounded out for a run and Starlin Castro hit a two-run home run, his third of the season and first since being moved to the No. 2 spot in the lineup Friday.
What it means: Despite the defeats, the Cubs were at least competitive on the just-concluded road trip, except for the starts made by Garza. The right-hander combined to give up 13 runs (12 earned) on 12 hits over eight innings of his last two outings. In the four games between those two Garza starts, Cubs starters combined to allow just seven total earned runs. In addition to his issues throwing to the plate, Garza also committed another error, his third, while trying to throw to first base after a bunt.
Outside the box: The Cubs’ 12-game losing streak is reaching historic proportions. It is now just two away from tying the longest losing run in franchise history. It is also the team’s longest losing streak since dropping those 14 consecutive games to open the 1997 season. The club reached 12 consecutive defeats for only the seventh time in franchise history. Although Sunday’s defeat was a blowout, the current losing streak has six one-run defeats. There are seven games in the slide where the Cubs scored two runs or less.
Off beat: Baseballs still float, it’s just the Cubs who are sinking. David DeJesus emphasized the point in the first inning moments after the Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez gave his team the early lead with a three-run home run that rattled off the back of the right-field bleachers and bounced back onto the playing field. DeJesus picked up the ball and instead of tossing it to a fan in the stands he fired it over the paying customers and into the Allegheny River that passes just outside the stadium and whose banks are just 443 from home plate.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (0-1, 3.86) to the mound against San Diego in the opener of a three-game series Monday. The Padres will counter with right-hander Jeff Suppan (2-3, 4.21) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.