Inability to cash in dooms Cubs
Club 1-for-15 with RISP, strands 13; Soto goes yard
DETROIT -- After watching the Cubs strand 13 baserunners and go 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, Lou Piniella admitted he's run out of ways to get the Cubs offense going.
"What are you going to do? Keep running them out there and sooner or later they'll hit," Piniella said after the Cubs dropped a 5-3 Interleague game to the Detroit Tigers Wednesday night.
"Maybe we'll draw the names out of a hat," Piniella said. "That might be the thing to do. Leave a couple guys who are doing their jobs in their positions and just draw some names and see where they fall. We can't do any worse."
Having the designated hitter didn't help. Miguel Cabrera and Gerald Laird each hit solo home runs to lift Detroit as Chicago continued to struggle on the road.
The Cubs now have played 34 games at home and 34 on the road, and they're 21-13 at Wrigley -- where they're batting .258 -- and 13-21 in their road grays, hitting .235. For the series, they're 1-for-23 with RISP.
"It's one step at a time," Jake Fox said. "We're having some good at-bats. Just a week ago, a week and a half ago, we were having a tough time getting hits. Now, we're getting hits, and we're getting runners in scoring position and we're moving in the right direction. Now we need somebody to step up and get that clutch hit and get that big hit and get us on a roll."
Derrek Lee, who was the Cubs' designated hitter, singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 21 games. That wasn't enough to help Rich Harden (4-4), who lost his third straight decision, giving up four runs, two earned, on four hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings.
"It was an ugly game and I wasn't happy with my performance," Harden said. "I don't have too much else to say."
"You feel for these pitchers," Piniella said. "You don't give them run support. It's not the easiest way to go out there and pitch."
Will Piniella talk to the players?
"What is there to talk about?" Piniella said. "Ozzie [Guillen, White Sox manager] had a great statement -- when you have too many meetings, you have a bad team. Good teams don't have meetings. They go out there and play and get the job done and they win baseball games. If the manager has to have too many meetings, there's a lot of problems."
Are the Cubs a bad team?
"We have a chance to be a good team," Piniella said. "We've been playing .500 ball all year."
"I don't believe in meetings, I really don't," Piniella said. "You let guys play, you stay out of their way and hope they get the job done. On the road especially, we don't put runs on the board. What can I say? We don't score runs."
Detroit starter Rick Porcello had something to do with that. He escaped a few jams in his five-plus innings. Geovany Soto hit his sixth home run with one out in the Chicago fifth, connecting on a 2-1 pitch from the Tigers rookie. But one out later, the Cubs loaded the bases and Porcello struck out Micah Hoffpauir to end the threat.
Harden served up Cabrera's 15th home run leading off the fourth and Laird's third with a one-out homer in the fifth. The Cubs loaded the bases again with none out in the sixth, and could only muster one run on Mike Fontenot's fielder's choice, which tied the game at 2.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, taking advantage of an error by Soto, who dropped Marcus Thames' popup. Thames eventually walked. Laird tested Fox's reactions when he lined out to the third baseman. Fox handled that, but could only knock down Adam Everett's infield hit, which allowed a run to score. Aaron Heilman then walked Curtis Granderson to force in a run and give Detroit a 4-2 lead.
"I had some plays to make today," Fox said. "The one I wish I had back was the one that the run scored on. I got up and double-clutched on it. I still want to know if I got that cleanly out of my glove, if I could've gotten that out. I gave it the best throw I had."
Chicago loaded the bases for the third time with one out in the seventh, and Fox hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3. Fox also flew out to center for the second out in the ninth. That ball might have gone out at Wrigley Field. But they're not at Wrigley.
Carlos Marmol walked a batter with the bases loaded in the Tigers' eighth to force in another run. That's been a bad trend, too.
If you were lucky enough to be sitting in the upper deck of Comerica Park, you were treated to a fireworks show in the ninth. That was about the only thing Cubs fans could cheer about.
"You've just got to battle," Soto said. "We're getting our hits. We just have to drive them in."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.