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Alfonso Soriano still without an extra-base hit

NEW ERA,
OLD STORY

With their sixth loss in a row Friday, the Cubs
tied their third-worst 14-game start in franchise history:

Next Final

Year start game record

1997 0-14 W 68-94

1981 1-13 W 38-65

2012 3-11 vs. Reds ?

1983 3-11 W 71-91

1966 3-11 L 59-103*

1957 3-11 L 62-92

1894 3-11 W 57-75

*Tied worst record
in franchise history

Updated: May 22, 2012 8:09AM



Of all the strange facts about the Cubs’ first two weeks, this might be the strangest: Alfonso Soriano leads the team with eight RBI on 11 hits, but none of those hits has been for extra bases.

Soriano, who has 340 career home runs, hit 10 homers in April last season.

‘‘It’s weird, yeah,’’ he said. ‘‘But as soon as I get one, I know myself, and they come [in bunches].’’

Manager Dale Sveum believes that, too.

‘‘Sori is a streaky hitter,’’ he said. ‘‘Those kinds of guys can sometimes carry you.’’

Soriano has gone deeper into counts and has had a couple of opposite-field hits, but he said he hasn’t changed his approach.

‘‘I’m just taking what they’re giving to me,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been hitting fourth, but I’ve seen more pitches away than last year so far.’’

Soriano was dropped to the fifth spot Friday, with lefty-hitting Bryan LaHair moving to cleanup. Sveum tried to juggle the left-right order of the lineup with an eye to the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen, which features lefties Aroldis Chapman and former Cubs setup man Sean Marshall.

What a relief

Marshall’s family will get a homecoming this weekend, with son Brody celebrating his first birthday in the city he was born, where mom Sarah grew up and where Marshall spent his first six seasons in the majors.

‘‘It’s very different,’’ said Marshall, who was traded from the Cubs to the Reds during the offseason. ‘‘I was used to coming here for six years, but I’m getting used to [being with the Reds].

‘‘We have a good team and a good group of guys. From the first day, I felt at home and welcomed and a good connection with the guys. And it’s nice to be back with [manager] Dusty [Baker]. When I was a rookie with him, I kept my mouth shut. But Dusty is a player’s manager, and he treats players well.’’

Marshall has been a plus for the Reds, especially after they lost closer Ryan Madson for the season to a torn elbow ligament. He has two saves and a 2.08 ERA.

The Reds signed
Marshall to a three-year contract extension after acquiring him from the Cubs for left-hander Travis Wood and outfielders Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

Farm facts

The more the Cubs struggle, the more the success of first-base prospect Anthony Rizzo draws attention.

Rizzo hit two more homers Thursday for
Class AAA Iowa and had all three of the team’s RBI in a 4-3 loss at Albuquerque. Rizzo leads Iowa in batting average (.393), runs scored (13), hits (22), homers (seven), RBI (16) and total bases (44).



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