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Cubs’ quest: 3-game win streak

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood reacts after walking FloridMarlins' game-winning run during eighth inning baseball game Sunday July 17 2011

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood reacts after walking in the Florida Marlins' game-winning run during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 17, 2011, in Chicago. Florida beat the Chicago 7-5. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

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Updated: July 20, 2011 5:38PM

Times only seem to get tougher for the Cubs.

A season-worst 20 games below .500, they have yet to win three consecutive games, something that is a milestone of sorts as the season ebbs.

‘‘We haven’t won three in a row yet, and August is right around the corner,’’ reliever Kerry Wood said. ‘‘That says it all.’’

The numbers have gotten progressively worse for the Cubs, who’ve gone from a 12-14 April, to 11-16 in May, 11-18 in June and 4-10 in July.

‘‘There is still a lot of baseball left, and we need to keep battling,’’ outfielder Reed Johnson said. ‘‘This team needs to have pride. You learn a lot about guys when you’re not ­going well.

‘‘We still haven’t won three games in a row. If you would have told us that at the beginning of the season, no one would have believed it.’’

The weekend series against the Florida Marlins saw the pitching staff suffer more woes.

Closer Carlos Marmol struggled badly enough Thursday and Friday to need time off, and Wood had bad outings Thursday and Sunday, as well. Starter Carlos Zambrano was hit hard Saturday, though Randy Wells rebounded from a bad first inning Sunday (three runs, including two homers) to go six innings and leave with the game tied at 4.

‘‘You come out and warm up and try to establish yourself, and it was pretty obvious when it wasn’t working,’’ Wells said of his first inning. ‘‘You try to nibble, and that’s not a good plan.

‘‘The second inning, I got a kick in the head: ‘It’s time to start pitching the way you can.’ ’’

Wells was making only his 10th start after missing the first two months with a forearm injury. He has a 1-3 record and 6.71 ERA after having the best spring of any Cubs pitcher.

Wells admitted he’s still adjusting after the injury.

‘‘I’m trying to be too fine instead of cutting loose and letting things work in your favor,’’ he said. ‘‘I think a lot of that comes from not trusting yourself. You come back from an injury, and I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but you have a pretty good spring training, and then you start the season, then go through rehabs.

‘‘The swagger hasn’t been there, I guess. You try to talk yourself through things instead of letting my pitches work.’’

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