CHICAGO (AP) - Asked if the Chicago Cubs will eventually start getting some extra-base hits, Carlos Zambrano was quick to point out he's not in charge of that department.
``I'm not the hitting coach,' Zambrano said. ``My job is to pitch. They pay me to win games.'
Zambrano didn't get a decision and the Cubs didn't get a win Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, who scored two in the eighth off reliever Kerry Wood to beat Chicago 6-4.
The Cubs collected 13 hits - all singles. But what was really frustrating was some of the defense. Alfonso Soriano slipped down in left field and let a ball get by him for a run-scoring triple. Catcher Koyie Hill, who entered the game in the first when starter Geovany Soto left with a groin strain, had trouble holding onto a strong throw from right fielder Kosuke Fukudome that could have cut down a run at the plate.
And in the eighth, the Cubs didn't cut off a throw from the outfield, allowing the Cardinals to take an extra base on a fly ball and eliminating a double play. St. Louis then went on No. 8 hitter Daniel Descalso's two-run single.
``Things happen,' said Zambrano, who gave up eight hits and four runs in seven innings. ``My job is to pitch and control what I do on the mound.'
St. Louis loaded the bases off Wood (1-2) in the eighth. Albert Pujols, who had four hits, singled, Matt Holliday walked and after both runners moved up on the fly ball, Wood intentionally walked Yadier Molina. Nick Punto lined out before Descalso, the No. 8 hitter, delivered his hit to right.
``One pitch away actually. It wasn't a bad pitch,' Wood said. ``It was right on his hands. He got his hands in and got to it.'
Chicago had scored two in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and that's what bothered Wood most.
``We're going to be in close games, that's kinda the way it's been all year. I don't expect a lot to change,' Wood said. ``This one stings a little bit because we scored two there the half-inning before and got us back in the game. ... You give it right back, that's the hardest part of it.'
After the Cubs loaded the bases for the third time in the game, Carlos Pena hit a sacrifice fly. Starlin Castro, in a 2-for-25 slump entering the game and dropped to seventh in the batting order, then dumped an RBI single to right to tie it at 4-4 in the seventh.
Manager Mike Quade said there was no reason being upset about getting 13 singles.
``Probably more upset about the defense, some of the plays we didn't make,' he said.
Chicago loaded the bases twice in the first. Chris Carpenter walked leadoff batter Fukudome and Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd followed with singles to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run single to center and the Cubs loaded the bases again before Hill popped out.
Zambrano also got out of a big jam in the first with just one run scoring on Holliday's RBI single. Zambrano issued an intentional walk to Berkman to load the bases before Yadier Molina grounded into an inning-double play.
Notes: Soto will have an MRI on Wednesday to determine the extent of his injury. The Cubs are expected to summon a catcher from the minors. Quade said Soto would more than likely be out a few days.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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