NEW YORK -- Matt Garza put the Chicago Cubs in position to win Sunday. His bullpen just didn't cooperate.
"Another strong outing from our starter is wasted again," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after his bullpen collapsed in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets. "Garza was really good. That fastball command today, down and away, I think he had a really good slider as well."
Garza had his best outing of the season as he threw seven shutout innings of three-hit ball while recording a no-decision. Garza's strong effort followed perhaps the worst outing of his career, a five-inning, nine-run debacle against the Cincinnati Reds.
"I felt pretty good about [the start]," Garza said. "My stuff and my location wasn't really there all the time but found a way to get through some jams. Just felt comfortable and felt like I had a little bit of rhythm."
Garza worked efficiently against a weak Mets lineup, keeping New York from getting anything going for most of the game. In the sixth inning, when the Mets put the first two on, Garza retired the middle of the order in succession to keep the Cubs ahead 3-0.
With the trade deadline now coming into view, Garza recognizes he's going to be a hot topic once again.
"I've been probably in trade talks throughout my entire career," Garza said. "It's nothing new. I get ready for the next five and do my part. Everything will take care of itself."
Big change: Leaving New York on a loss instead of a four-game winning streak had Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano frustrated.
"We have like 99 [percent] chance to win, the whole game we're winning, and it's very tough. In the last inning, with just less than three outs left to win the game, and we lost. It's unacceptable," Soriano said. "It's hard to take, hard to swallow."
The Cubs led 3-0 in the ninth before closer Carlos Marmol gave up four runs. A win would have marked Chicago's second four-game winning streak of the season, and set the team up to try to tie its season-best on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"That's the world we've lived in all year so we got to bounce back," Sveum said. "We're playing the best team in baseball the next four days, so it's not the easiest thing going in there on a sour note."
'Crazy play': In the fifth inning, the Cubs took a 3-0 lead thanks to the Mets throwing the ball around the field.
On a hard grounder to third, David Wright threw wide and high of first. Daniel Murphy retrieved the ball and threw home in an attempt to a nail the runner at the plate, but his throw was wide, too. Omar Quintanilla then grabbed that errant toss and like Murphy, threw wide while trying to snipe a runner going home. The Cubs scored two on the play as the Mets were charged with a pair of errors.
Soriano, the batter, ended up at third base.
"I see that play as a crazy play," Soriano said. "We got one crazy play yesterday and another one today. I think that's good for us. I don't want people to make errors, but if they do, we take it."