PITTSBURGH (AP) - Suffering through their longest skid in 15 years, the Chicago Cubs found a new way to lose.
Saturday, their losing streak was extended to 11 games via the type of defeat they've only sustained once in the past 38 years.
Matt Hague was hit by a pitch from Rafael Dolis with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cubs 3-2 on Saturday night.
Hague took a 96 mph fastball from Dolis (2-4) in the left side below the rib cage, scoring Jose Tabata and eliciting an incredulous look to the sky by the Cubs reliever.
``We were just trying to get a fastball for a strike,' Cubs catcher Blake Lalli said. ``He has good movement, and let it run in. We obviously wanted a ground ball or strike right there.'
According to STATS, llc., the only other Cubs' loss on a walkoff hit-by-pitch since 1974 was on May 27, 2007. Carlos Marmol hit the Dodgers' Juan Pierre to allow the winning run.
The Cubs are enduring their longest losing streak in 15 years. This is the 11th time in their 137-year history that they have lost at least 11 games in a row.
``The atmosphere in the clubhouse is great; nobody is really hanging their head or pouting or anything like that,' Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. ``They are doing a great job of keeping their head up and going about their business. The preparation and the work ethic is outstanding, but we are just not getting it done in the nine innings. We have to go out there and perform in the nine innings.'
Before hitting Hague, Dolis walked Josh Harrison and Neil Walker earlier in the ninth after Tabata had singled to lead off the inning.
``We are having trouble with Dolis right now throwing back-to-back strikes,' Sveum said. ``He's throwing scuds and stuff all over the place, and then he'll throw a strike and then one all over the place again. We've got to fix that because that's not acceptable.'
The punchless Cubs offense continued to struggle, managing six hits against Kevin Correia and three relievers. Closer Joel Hanrahan (2-0) had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth.
Alfonso Soriano homered and Starlin Castro had an RBI triple for the Cubs, who have scored eight runs in their past six games.
``You are not going to win too many games when you score two runs,' Sveum said.
Andrew McCutchen reached base four times and scored a run for Pittsburgh, which has taken the first two games of this series despite scoring a total of four runs.
Longtime Pirates starter Paul Maholm received a no-decision in his first game against his former club.
``There is nobody in here pointing fingers at each other,' Maholm said. ``We've got to go and win the game, because we can't expect it to be given to us. We have to go out there and play hard like we have been.'
The Cubs intentionally walked McCutchen with a runner at second and one out of a scoreless game in the third. McCutchen has reached base in 33 consecutive games played against Chicago.
Alvarez followed with a single to center, scoring Tabata. Walker then drove McCutchen home with a sacrifice fly.
Soriano's homer to right-center in the fourth, his fifth, snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs. They entered the fourth having scored during four of their previous 59 innings but made it two consecutive in the fifth when Castro had their first hit with runners in scoring position in 27 at_bats over five days.
David DeJesus doubled with two outs and Castro followed with a triple to right to tie it at 2.
The PNC Park career leader in starts, victories, strikeouts and innings, Maholm was pulled after five innings (94 pitches). He was charged with two runs on four hits and five walks with two strikeouts in five innings.
Chicago missed on a chance to take its first lead in 24 innings when pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas lined a double into the corner in right but Blake Lalli was thrown out at the plate.
Lalli was the final batter Correia would face. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
Correia allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
Correia had lost his five previous starts. He started a game Pittsburgh won for the first time since April 24.
Even if it did come in the most unusual of ways.
``That guy (Dolis) was kind of hit-or-miss, so (a hit batter) is always a possibility,' Correia said. ``I'm sure Hague is hurting. That guy throws pretty hard. To get that one straight in the ribs, he had to earn that RBI.'
Notes: The Pirates' last win on a walkoff hit-by-pitch was on April 15, 1997 against the Padres. Tony Womack drove in the winning run when he was hit by Sterling Hitchcock. ... Soriano's home run broke a 17-inning scoreless streak by Pirates pitchers. ... Harrison's hitting streak ended at 10 games. ... The Pirates have allowed two or fewer runs in 15 of 23 home games this season. ... In the series finale Sunday, Pirates LHP Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.52) faces RHP Matt Garza (2-2, 3.72). Garza pitched seven shutout innings in his only previous outing at PNC Park, Aug. 3, 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved