CHICAGO (AP)—Cubs pitchers cut their hair short, but couldn’t keep Chicago’s losing streak from growing longer.
Before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago clubhouse turned into a barbershop. The show of unity didn’t carry over to the field as the Cubs lost 4-1, stretching their skid to seven straight games.
“It’s frustrating, obviously, to be in this situation,” said spot starter Glendon Rusch, who shaved his head after Friday’s loss. “We’re playing good baseball and not winning.”
The Cubs are on their longest losing streak since they dropped nine in a row from May 8-18, 2002.
“It’s not like we’re going out and getting waxed all over the field every day,” Rusch said. “Every game we’ve played in the last two weeks, we’ve had a chance to win and we haven’t done it.”
Jimmy Rollins snapped a tie in the fifth inning with an RBI single and the Phillies added two more runs in the ninth for their second straight win. Philadelphia (13-18) hadn’t won consecutive games since taking three straight from April 16-18.
“We got two wins in a row,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “It took us a while, but finally did it.”
With the Phillies trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Tomas Perez led off with a single, and Mike Lieberthal followed with a hard-hit double over the head of center fielder Corey Patterson, who misplayed the drive. With the wind blowing in hard, Patterson broke in on the ball, and then quickly retreated to chase it. Phillies starter Jon Lieber brought Perez home with a groundout, and Rollins singled in Lieberthal to give the Phillies the lead.
“On a day like today with the wind blowing in, that ball carried further than he thought and a lot of people thought,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a big play. When you’re not going good, those are the kind of plays that hurt you, but Corey rarely misses a ball like that.”
Lieber (5-1) was sharp against his former team, allowing one run, four hits and two walks in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out a season-high six.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve pitched a game here,” said Lieber, who spent the last two seasons with the New York Yankees. “Being back here pitching a game brought back a lot of memories.”
Patterson gave the Cubs a 1-0 advantage when he led off the first with his sixth homer of the season. Chicago didn’t get another hit until the fourth when Derrek Lee singled with one out to stretch his hitting streak to 18 games.
“No matter how good their pitching was, we should be able to muster more than one run,” Lee said.
Pinch-hitter Jose Offerman drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning to make it 4-1.
Rusch, making his first start of the season after 11 relief appearances, gave up three hits in the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.
Rusch (2-1) yielded two runs on eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one, throwing 82 pitches. He got the start in place of Kerry Wood, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.
“He did pretty good in his first start in a long time,” Baker said. “He threw a lot of pitches, that’s why we had to get him out of there. He was running out of gas in that inning and his ball wasn’t reaching the plate.”
“Madson was outstanding,” Manuel said. “He did just what I wanted him to do. It was very good, he faced the two big hitters.”
Lee was stranded in scoring position in the fourth, and the Cubs left two more on base in the fifth and another in the sixth.
Cubs 2B Todd Walker (left knee sprain) will go to the team’s complex in Arizona on Wednesday and then join Triple-A Iowa in Salt Lake City next weekend. He hopes to return for the Cubs’ series against the White Sox on May 20. … Comedian Will Ferrell joined former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka in singing during the seventh inning stretch. While throwing out the first pitch, Ferrell shook off signs and threw balls at imaginary baserunners at first and second. … It was the third time Patterson has led off a game with a homer, the first since June 20, 2002, against Texas.