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ARI@CHC: Two runs score as Young triples in third

CHICAGO -- The Cubs finished their first homestand of 2011 at .500 after losing, 6-4, on Wednesday to the D-backs, and Mike Quade saw lots of positives to build on.

"Every game, a war," Quade said of the six games, which were all decided by three runs or fewer. "I always say it's about the process and giving yourself a chance to win every game, and we've done a lot of that. We want to fix some things so we come out on the better side of that than we did this homestand.

"I'm still pleased with the effort. I've said all along, if we play intelligent baseball and we get quality effort every game, then the rest of it will take care of itself."

Chris Young hit an RBI triple and an RBI double, and Miguel Montero added a solo homer to lift the D-backs and spoil the Cubs' bid for their first sweep of the season.

Aramis Ramirez belted a two-run homer, and Alfonso Soriano added a solo shot, his third of the season, to back Ryan Dempster (0-2), who struck out six but also served up 10 hits over seven innings. Dempster has 26 home wins since 2008, tied for second-most among National League pitchers, but he now has lost five straight at Wrigley Field, dating back to Aug. 31.

"I would've liked to have made a couple better pitches with runners on base," said Dempster, who started the six-game homestand with a loss and ended the same way. "I made a lot of good pitches today, and sometimes maybe a little better pitch here or there would've helped get ahead of the count. I liked the way I was throwing the ball. I just didn't get the results I wanted."

It was a battle as the Cubs committed three errors behind him. Willie Bloomquist singled with two outs in the D-backs' third, stole second and scored on Young's triple that dropped in front of diving center fielder Marlon Byrd and scooted past him. Soriano overran the ball for an error, allowing Young to score.

"An inch here, I catch that ball and it's 0-0 instead of 2-0 and give Dempster a little comfort," Byrd said. "That's the game of baseball -- I'm always going to be aggressive. Hopefully, I get that ball next time and make it easier on him."

Young felt Bloomquist made Byrd feel he had to hustle after he stole second.

"If he doesn't steal second right there, Marlon probably doesn't take the gamble on that ball," Young said. "If the ball drops, it's an RBI. ... Willie stole that base, which was big because it made Marlon have to get a little more aggressive to try and make a play and stop the run from scoring, and it ended up coming out in our [favor]."

Byrd made up for it with a leadoff single in the fourth, and Ramirez followed with his first homer of the year on the first pitch to tie the game at 2.

Bloomquist hit an RBI single with one out in the fifth and scored on Young's double off the left-field wall above Soriano's outstretched glove. Kelly Johnson followed with an RBI double for a 5-2 lead.

"The first one I tried to get too quick, and I think that's why I dropped the ball," Soriano said of the play in the third. "The second one, I got close and the ball hit the end of my glove. I think I can get better. That was a tough play, but I think if I keep working I can make those plays."

It was the first game this season in which the Cubs made multiple errors. Besides Soriano's miscue, Geovany Soto was charged with an error in the fifth, when he couldn't get a glove on shortstop Starlin Castro's relay throw on Young's double. Second baseman Blake Dewitt also muffed a ball in the D-backs' ninth.

"Sori's busting to try to get that ball, and he got too quick," Quade said. "It's a triple, and OK, make sure you secure the baseball and get it to your middle infielders. If someone is going to screw up, let them screw up. There was a very little chance it would be an inside-the-park home run if we calmly get the ball in."

Soriano got some redemption when he led off the seventh with his third home run to make it 5-3, but Montero connected in the D-backs' eighth. All three of Soriano's homers this season have been leadoff blasts. He's well ahead of last year's pace; Soriano did not hit his third homer in 2010 until April 30.

The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Juan Gutierrez on a fielder's choice by Castro, single by Byrd and walk by Ramirez. Tyler Colvin grounded out to drive in a run, but Gutierrez got Soriano swinging at strike three. Armando Galarraga (1-0) picked up the win.

The Cubs began the day knowing they'll be without two of their starters for more than two weeks. Randy Wells has a strained right forearm, while Andrew Cashner has a mild strain in his right rotator cuff.

"Leave the two kids who are hurt out of it," Quade said. "I think everybody understands that we're going to need contributions from all over the place. ... We just didn't do enough things well today to win a ballgame. I don't think it had anything to do with the news that we got, and if it did, then we need to shake that off immediately. Turn the page and move on."

After an off-day Thursday, the Cubs will face the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday. They've got some work to do.

"You work hard to fix the things you need to fix," Quade said. "We only had six hits, but it seemed like we still had chances right up until the end. I have to believe that will pay off down the road." Comments