CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum was asked on Wednesday afternoon if he felt like his Chicago Cubs still had a chance to get back in the race for a playoff spot in the National League.
"It's a huge hole, but the starting pitching always gives you a chance," the Cubs manager said, referring to the double-digit difference between his team and one of the NL's two wild-card spots.
"Even though we're playing really well, there has to be that streak of wins to climb back into something, especially when you've got three or four teams to climb over."
About three hours later, the Cubs (40-49) didn't play well and their starting pitcher didn't give them a chance in a 13-2 blowout loss at Wrigley Field to the Los Angeles Angels (44-46).
Josh Hamilton hit a pair of home runs and had five RBIs, and four other Angels hit home runs to pace the offense as Los Angeles got a strong pitching performance from starter C.J. Wilson.
Jeff Samardzija (5-9) started for the Cubs and took the loss in his worst outing of the season.
Los Angeles scored five times in the first inning and tacked on four more against Samardzija in the fifth -- including back-to-back home runs by Hamilton and Albert Pujols. Wilson (9-6) picked up the win by going seven innings, allowing just one run and striking out six with no walks.
NOTES: The Cubs reached an agreement with 3B Kris Bryant, their first-round pick (No. 2 overall) from the June draft. Bryant, who must pass his physical for the team to make the official announcement, signed for a reported $6.7 million. That's the highest amount to date for a player from this year's draft. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker, who is coming back from a spring setback after Tommy John surgery, will throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer told reporters before Wednesday's game there is a chance Baker will be part of Chicago's starting rotation next season. ... Angels RHP Jason Vargas was cleared to play catch on Tuesday and will now begin his throwing progression in his recovery from a blood clot in his left armpit area. ... Angels RHP Tommy Hanson was slated to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. Hanson was placed on the DL June 27 (retroactive to June 21) for a right forearm strain. ... 2B Howie Kendrick didn't start on Wednesday against the Cubs because Scioscia wants to get him some time off heading into the All-Star break.