Walk-off loss has Cubs looking for answers

June, 7, 2012
6/07/12
6:31
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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MILWAUKEE -- The Cubs have lost twice as many games as they have won, putting them on pace for the worst record in franchise history. But Thursday’s walk-off defeat to Milwaukee had to hurt more than most.

[+] EnlargeCasey Coleman
Benny Sieu/US PresswireCasey Coleman missed his mark with a fastball, and it cost the Cubs big in Thursday's loss.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Cubs reliever Casey Coleman left a ball up that Norichika Aoki drove over the right-field fence to give the Brewers a win. It was Aoki’s second homer of the game – and third of the season.

“You have to make a good, aggressive pitch, a fastball down in the zone, and he was locked in today,” Coleman said. “He had been seeing the ball well, and when you leave a ball up to a professional in a situation like that, they are going to make you pay.”

In all too familiar of a theme for the Cubs’ rotation, starter Matt Garza had little to show for a good effort. Garza allowed two runs on four hits in his six innings of work, taking a no-decision.

“You just keep going,” Garza said. “There is another one tomorrow we have got to get ready for, we have to stay ready, and we knew coming in (the 2012 season) was going to be tough.”

Garza has not won a game since April 29. He is 0-3 with four no-decisions during that seven-start stretch.

“I threw the ball well,” Garza said. “I would have liked to stay in longer and give up less runs, but I am just going to keep going out there and get ready for Detroit.”

Bryan LaHair gave the Cubs a brief lead in the 8th with a two-run, pinch-hit homer off Brewers setup man Francisco Rodriguez. That lead evaporated in the Brewers’ 8th when Cory Hart’s double scored Aoki.

LaHair and his teammates are frustrated they have not provided more offense for the starting pitchers.

“We have horses,” LaHair said. “We may have the best staff in the league one through three, and our fourth and fifth guys give us great efforts, but we have to be able to score runs and hold leads for them.”

The Cubs are 4-27 when scoring three runs or less in a game. They are 15-11 when scoring four or more runs.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.65 157 149
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 31
RBIA. Rizzo 74
RA. Rizzo 87
OPSA. Rizzo .898
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 157