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Cubs’ fourth straight loss raises heat on Mike Quade

Updated: July 8, 2011 3:41PM

ST. LOUIS — You want to blame manager Mike Quade for what’s gone wrong this year?

‘‘Whatever heat comes, bring it on,’’ said Quade, whose Cubs are sinking fast after a 6-1 loss to the St.  Louis Cardinals on Friday night — their fourth straight loss as they opened their toughest road trip of the year.

Quade has taken nearly as much heat recently from the Chicago media and fans as general manager Jim Hendry has.

‘‘That goes with the territory,’’ Quade said. ‘‘It’s been frustrating and all the rest of it. But you believe in yourself. You believe in your guys. And you believe they’ll come out and give you a good effort every night. That’s the only thing you can do.’’

The effort wasn’t the issue on this night as much as a three-run homer by Lance Berkman off Ryan Dempster in the first inning and a young, makeshift lineup’s inability to do much of anything against Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia (6-1).

After answering a miserable April by going 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in May, Dempster (4-5) walked three and gave up two homers in his first June start. That was as many as he
allowed in six May starts.

Facing a lineup that included four hitters with less than a year of big-league experience and another with barely a year, Garcia retired the first 13 batters he faced and eight of the final nine in his eight innings. The only run came when Carlos Pena’s one-out walk in the fifth was followed by Lou Montanez’s RBI double.

It was the Cubs’ sixth loss in
seven games and buried them a season-worst nine games out of first in the National League Central.

All of which has made Quade’s startling 24-13 finish in 2010 a distant, faded memory.

He’s still looking for his 24th win this year after 55 games.

And the heat is already rising from some corners.

‘‘People are going to criticize, and that’s fine,’’ he said. ‘‘Anybody who thought it was going to be the yellow brick road for Mike Quade or anybody else that does this job is nuts. Because we’ve had some tough times, it’s not going to change the way I go about my business, and it’s not going to shake my confidence, or these guys’ confidence, at all. We’re just going to fight through it.’’

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