CHICAGO (AP) - Starlin Castro sounded almost defiant after the latest loss. No matter how bleak things appear to be, he insisted better days are coming for the Chicago Cubs.
Jake Peavy pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, Adam Dunn hit his 14th homer and the Chicago White Sox beat the crosstown Cubs 6-0 Sunday to complete the sweep.
It was a fitting finish to a miserable weekend for a team that matched a season high with its sixth straight loss.
``It's tough for us,' Castro said. ``We lose six games in a row, but everybody's working hard. This time is going to be good, start winning some games.'
The recent skid comes on the heels of a mildly promising 12-9 stretch. And it left them at 15-26 and last in the NL Central.
``Every day's a new game,' Darwin Barney said. ``We could start a five-game winning streak tomorrow.'
Not like this, though.
Besides Dunn, Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers also went deep as the White Sox tied season highs with four straight wins and three homers in a game.
Not bad, considering Paul Konerko sat out his second in a row after being hit near his left eye by a pitch on Friday.
``If we can keep going on the right track with the guys swinging the bats the way they have the last few days, we should be able to play a little more consistent,' Peavy said.
Back-to-back homers by Beckham and Dunn leading off the fourth gave them a 2-0 lead. Flowers made it 3-0 with a drive to start the fifth off Paul Maholm (4-3), giving the White Sox three homers for the second straight game and Peavy (5-1) all the support he needed.
The right-hander struck out seven and walked two over 6 1-3 innings even though the wind was blowing out. He helped chase Maholm during a two-run seventh, grounding into a force and scoring on a sacrifice fly, and he left to cheers with a runner on first after retiring Ian Stewart on a fly to right in the bottom half.
``We had opportunities to score a lot of runs with the wind today,' the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano said after watching the Cubs leave the bases loaded in the fourth and eighth. ``Sometimes, we see a flag like that and we're not (concentrating). ... We see the wind and we forget that we have to hit the ball first.'
It was a charged weekend in Chicago, with Kerry Wood retiring and Konerko getting hit in the face, not to mention the protests in the city surrounding the NATO Summit.
There was heightened security outside Wrigley Field. Inside, it was more of the same.
Peavy shook off a rough outing against Detroit and got back to dominating. For the Cubs, Maholm got hit hard, allowing five runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings after going 4-0 in his previous five starts. And the lineup could be in for some changes.
``We need some production,' manager Dale Sveum said. ``The bottom line is two months into the season, we have to start producing or we're going to have to start making some changes.'
Notes: Although the team has not announced his signing, manager Robin Ventura said veteran INF Orlando Hudson is on his way and that 3B Brent Morel is likely headed to the disabled list because of lower back soreness. A four-time Gold Glove second baseman, Hudson was waived Thursday by San Diego. He will probably see time at third. ... Gavin Floyd is scheduled to start Tuesday, with P.J. Walters going for the Twins. ... Matt Garza starts Monday for the Cubs against Houston, with Bud Norris taking the mound for the Astros. ... Sveum said the Cubs will soon discuss calling up Anthony Rizzo from the minors. It's not hard to see why, considering he's batting .353 with 14 homers and 39 RBIs for Triple-A Iowa. ``That's definitely going to be talked about,' manager Dale Sveum said. ``He's done everything he can down there, but when you bring somebody up like that he's got to play every day so that's the million dollar question. How do we get him playing time?' ... RHP Carlos Marmol (strained right hamstring) and C Steve Clevenger (right oblique) start rehab assignments in Iowa on Monday. ... RHP Blake Parker has a mild hamstring strain.
The Associated Press News Service
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