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Cubs trying to stay positive despite plenty of negative numbers

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Updated: September 20, 2013 6:32AM



Negative numbers have surrounded the Cubs in their last eight home games.

Here are just some: 12 runs, a .105 average with runners in scoring position and the most obvious, a 1-7 record.

But players say they still try to find positives.

‘‘We’re a rebuilding team and we’re going to have ups and downs,’’ starter Edwin Jackson said Sunday after a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

‘‘We have to learn from our mistakes and the next day go out and learn from what we did previously. It’s a learning process. At the end of the day, we have to take the positives we’ve learned into the next games.’’

A dropped fly ball by center fielder Junior Lake in the second led to a pair of unearned runs off Jackson (7-13) in a three-run inning. Jackson finished six innings and gave up only one earned run but threw a season-high 117 pitches.

‘‘As a pitcher you know things are going to happen,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘You try to do damage control. It could have been a lot worse than two runs.’’

But three runs usually is more than enough for Adam Wainwright (14-7), who saw his run support double on a three-run homer by Jon Jay in the seventh. James Russell had just come in to face Jay after Carlos Villanueva gave up a one-out walk to Allen Craig and a double to Yadier Molina.

It got worse for Russell in the bottom of the inning when he was ejected along with manager Dale Sveum for arguing a strikeout on Donnie Murphy’s checked swing.

‘‘That easily was the worst checked-swing call I’ve ever seen,’’ Sveum said.

Home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi made the call without asking the other umpires for help. The Cubs had men at first and second with no outs at the time.

‘‘Wainwright was pitching well and to get a couple guys on board with no outs, it felt like the momentum got sucked right out of us,’’ said Murphy, who has been the team’s hottest hitter of late. ‘‘I was so baffled, I didn’t know what to say to [Cuzzi].’’

Wainwright had been winless against the Cubs in his last six starts.

But the Cubs have made things better for most visitors of late with an inability to score runs at home.

They have hit only .197 (50-for-254) in the last eight home games and have been shut out in five.

Going further, they have lost 13 of their last 15 and 15 of their last 20 at Wrigley, where their record has fallen to 28-34.

‘‘We just have to start swinging the bats better, and do it at the same time together,’’ said Anthony Rizzo, who is battling his own 2-for-20 slump on the homestand.

The Cubs’ only run came in the sixth when David DeJesus drew the only walk off Wainwright, who had 11 strikeouts. DeJesus scored on Lake’s double.

Despite his error, Lake went 3-for-4, snapping his own 0-for-12 slump. It was Lake’s 10th multihit game in his first 29 games.

Email: tginnetti@suntimes.com

Twitter: @toniginnetti



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