Even when the Chicago Cubs manage to score some runs, they can’t seem to find a way to win.
The Cubs look to avoid a ninth straight loss Tuesday night when they continue a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After scoring five runs during an 0-6 road trip, Chicago (21-22) broke out Monday but fell 10-8 to Freddy Sanchez(notes) and the Pirates. The loss dropped the Cubs below .500 for the first time since they were 10-11 on April 30.
“It’s good to see the team swinging the bats and I hope that continues,” said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team is batting .195 while posting a 5.05 ERA during the eight-game skid. “We’ve just got to start winning a few games, that’s it.”
Chicago has not lost nine in a row since May 8-18, 2002, and is looking to avoid matching a season high with a third straight defeat at Wrigley Field.
While Milton Bradley(notes) had a home run with four RBIs and Ryan Theriot(notes) added three doubles Monday, the Pirates (21-24) roughed up the Cubs’ pitchers for a season-high 18 hits after recording 16 in a 4-3 win over the White Sox on the south side of Chicago on Sunday.
Sanchez had six hits with a homer and three RBIs for the Pirates, who are 9-5 since losing a season-high eight in a row.
Sanchez, who became the first Pirate with six hits since Wally Backman in 1990, was mired in a 5-for-36 slump before going 9 for 15 in his last three contests.
“I was striking out too much before,” said Sanchez, who’s hitting .647 (11 for 17) in his last four games against Chicago. “I shortened my swing and put the ball in play. I just want to keep it going.”
Bradley, batting .198 in his first season with Chicago, is hitting .371 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 13 games against the Pirates.
The Cubs hope first baseman Derrek Lee(notes) can return after missing the last two games with the flu. Despite the team’s struggles, Lee is batting .444 (12 for 27) with two homers during a seven-game hitting streak.
Snell is 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA in his last six starts since beating Atlanta on April 18. The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits while striking out six in six innings Thursday, but didn’t factor in the decision for a second straight start, a 5-4 loss at Washington.
The Pirates could be without closer Matt Capps(notes), who left Monday’s game in the ninth inning after being struck on his pitching elbow by a line drive off the bat of Geovany Soto(notes). Capps has converted nine of 11 save attempts.
The left-hander is 1-0 with a 5.51 ERA in three starts against the Pirates, but he hasn’t faced them as a starter since 2006.