- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO – The Cubs' brief two-game win streak was snapped Wednesday with an 8-4 defeat to the Detroit Tigers.
How it happened: The Cubs appeared to be in control, until starter Matt Garza ran into trouble in the sixth inning. Garza gave up four runs in the sixth, with two of those unearned because of an error by Joe Mather. The Cubs looked to have things in sync in the fifth inning when Alfonso Soriano and Bryan LaHair hit back-to-back RBI doubles for a 4-1 lead. Jhonny Peralta delivered a two-run double in the breakout sixth for the Tigers.
What it means: A total of 32 games decided by one or two runs shows that the Cubs have been at least competitive for most of the season despite not being successful. Now a new trend is emerging as the pitching staff looks to be paying the price for so many competitive innings. In four of the Cubs’ last five defeats they have given up at least eight runs. Over those five defeats they have averaged 7.8 runs allowed.
Outside the box: Soriano keeps moving up the National League RBI list, collecting one more Wednesday to give him 41 on the season. He drove in a run in the fifth inning, bringing home Starlin Castro from first base on a double down the left-field line. He started the day tied for eighth in the league in RBIs. Soriano has now driven in a run in 17 of his last 32 games.
Off beat: That last-minute lineup change for the Cubs proved to be costly. Ian Stewart was scratched just before game time with a sore left wrist and Mather took over at third base. The change looked to be beneficial when Mather had an RBI single in the second inning, but then came his miscue on defense. On the second batter of the sixth inning, Mather booted what looked to be a sure double play. With new life, the Tigers went on to score four in the inning.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (0-2, 4.71 ERA) to the mound in the series finale against Detroit. The Tigers will counter with right-hander Justin Verlander (5-4, 2.69) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.
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1dAdam Rubin and Jesse Rogers