Cubs richly earn wrath of the fans

The boos finally rained down in the fourth inning after former Cub Benito Santiago lined a double to left field.

The jeers were long overdue but not as overdue as some decent baseball from the home team.

The Cubs fell to 2-7 at Wrigley Field Tuesday night after their ugliest defeat of the season, a 12-4 loss to the Giants.

Sammy Sosa's two-run homer and Barry Bonds' 0-for-3 performance provided little consolation, and a 20-minute meeting before the game did nothing to help their cause.

"Guys expressed themselves," manager Don Baylor said. "It didn't work today but I believe we will stay positive."

Until Tuesday the Cubs' struggles could be attributed to two problems. Their poor hitting had resulted in the second fewest runs scored in the National League behind San Diego. Plus their shoddy defense had led to 11 unearned runs over their previous five games.

But Tuesday's lackluster effort added a new element. Cubs pitchers issued eight walks and gave up three homers.

Baylor pulled the plug on starter Jason Bere in the third inning after the veteran right-hander walked in two runs.

Bere, who also was knocked out in the third inning of his last start, gave up a single to Rich Aurilia to start the frame. Then he hit Bonds on a first-pitch fastball, walked Jeff Kent and allowed Aurilia to score on a walk to Reggie Sanders on a 3-0 pitch.

With the bases still loaded, Bere missed high and away on a 3-2 pitch to J.T. Snow.

That was all Baylor needed to see.

"We took ourselves right out of the game," he said.

Even when the Cubs did something right, they did something wrong. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez made a diving stop on Kirk Rueter's third-inning grounder but drew an error when first baseman Fred McGriff failed to grab his one-hop throw.

The Cubs lost their third straight game to fall to 6-12. They didn't lose their 12th game last season until May 8.

The Cubs are averaging only 2.3 runs and 6.3 hits per home game.

McGriff went hitless in two at-bats to fall to 1-for-12 on the homestand.

"These guys have hit all their lives," Baylor said. "It has been a slow month but I'll keep writing their names in the lineup because guys have to turn the corner.

"I know when I got older, I said: 'Am I finished?' You're just trying to get through April and you're wondering if you're ever going to get another hit."

Other than waiting to flip the calendar, what can the Cubs do to try to rectify the situation? One idea being tossed around is to promote second baseman Bobby Hill from Triple-A Iowa.

Corey Patterson hit leadoff Tuesday for the first time this season, but Hill is viewed as the club's long-term answer at the top of the lineup.

With Delino DeShields slumping at the plate, the Cubs' brass is eager to welcome Hill. But the 24-year-old switch-hitter is hitting only .167 at Iowa after missing the season's first three games with a virus.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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