Monday, July 18, 2011
Sports News

Wood struggles as Cubs lose 7-5 to Marlins

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[July 18, 2011]  CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs thought Brett Hayes was out. Hayes thought he was safe, and second base umpire Lance Barrett agreed.

Good thing for the Florida Marlins that Barrett had the final call.

Hayes scored the go-ahead run on Greg Dobbs' bases-loaded walk in Florida's three-run eighth inning, and the Cubs lost 7-5 at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

Hanley Ramirez homered during Florida's three-run first, belting a long solo drive for his ninth of the season. John Buck hit three singles and reached four times.

The Marlins went ahead for good during the wild eighth.

Mike Stanton started the inning with a strikeout but hustled to first when Kerry Wood's fastball struck home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi in the mask and rolled back to the screen. Mike Cameron hit into a double play, but Wood hit Buck and walked pinch-hitter Wes Helms.

Hayes came in to run for Buck and nearly was picked off second, but second base umpire Lance Barrett ruled he was safe. Cubs manager Mike Quade ran onto the field to protest and replays suggested he had reason to complain.

"It's getting tough to watch some of this," Quade said. "I get bang-bang (plays). I have all the respect in the world for these (umpires). We've heard a lot of comments lately and I try to stay out of it, but there were a couple of calls in this series that were mind-boggling."

Emilio Bonifacio then reached on an infield single, setting the table for Dobbs' four-pitch walk against Wood (1-5). Logan Morrison then hit a two-run single to center that made it 7-4.

"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Wood said about the call at second. "I didn't make pitches after that obviously. ... (Barrett) was right on it, right on top of it, and butchered it."

Chicago (38-58) dropped three of four in the series to fall to 20 games under .500.

"It was not a good series for us, but we had company," Quade said, referring to the umpires. "And I hope that as accountable as we need to be, those guys are being accountable."

Hayes said he thought he was safe but Helms disagreed.

"He out. I can lead off first base and see you were out," Helms said.

"Well apparently I was out," Hayes responded.

Aramis Ramirez hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half of the eighth but Randy Choate came in and got Carlos Pena to bounce out to end the inning. Leo Nunez allowed Marlon Byrd's leadoff single in the ninth before retiring three straight for his 26th save.

Four Florida pitchers retired 20 straight batters after Darwin Barney's single in the second, the streak ending with Starlin Castro's two-out walk against Steve Cishek in the eighth.

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Reed Johnson, Castro and Ramirez each doubled and scored during Chicago's three-run first. Johnson added a sacrifice fly in the second.

Randy Wells allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings for Chicago. The right-hander has surrendered at least four runs in each of his last five starts and is winless since he beat Arizona in his first game of the season on April 4, a span of nine starts.

"(Wells) is nowhere near where we want him to be," Quade said. "I thought he was better after the first inning."

Wells' first-inning problems continued on Sunday. He walked leadoff hitter Bonifacio and Dobbs followed with an opposite-field homer that landed in the basket in left-center.

"You warm up and come out and try to establish a plan," Wells said. "It's pretty obvious where it went wrong."

One batter later, Ramirez launched a 3-2 pitch that nearly left Wrigley Field just a shade to the left of center. The ball landed behind the camera booth behind the batter's eye.

Wells has allowed 13 first-inning runs in 10 starts this season, including five of the 10 homers he has surrendered.

"(Wells) battled to get through six," Quade said. "Kept us in the game on a tough day to pitch. Wish we could have tacked on a few late."

Chris Volstad gave up four runs and six hits in three innings for Florida. Burke Badenhop replaced him and threw three perfect innings. Edward Mujica (8-2) tossed a perfect seventh and leads the Marlins in victories.

NOTES: The Marlins play at New York on Monday to make up a May 17 rainout. RHP Clay Hensley will start for the first time this season. He's been on the disabled list since June 3 with a right shoulder sprain and before that pitched out of the Florida bullpen. McKeon said Hensley won't be on a strict pitch count and will "go as long as he can go." ... Quade said before the game that he planned to give struggling closer Carlos Marmol another day off. Marmol, who has allowed six runs and walked six batters over his last 1 2-3 innings, is working with pitching coach Mark Riggins to iron out some mechanical issues. ... Bonifacio extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games with an infield single to start the fifth. It's the longest active streak in the major leagues.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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