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Cubs starter John Lackey retired 10 straight and led 4-1 -- then couldn’t pitch out of the fifth in a 9-6 loss in Miami.

Lackey blows lead in shortest start as Cubs lose 5th of last 6

SHARE Lackey blows lead in shortest start as Cubs lose 5th of last 6
SHARE Lackey blows lead in shortest start as Cubs lose 5th of last 6

MIAMI – The Cubs took their talents – and their best record in baseball – to South Beach only to get sand kicked in their faces by a low-budget, low-expectations Marlins team two of the last three games.

On Saturday, it was veteran John Lackey blowing a three-run lead in the middle innings as the Marlins came back to win 9-6 and hand the Cubs their fifth loss in six games.

“I mean, it started off with an infield hit,” said Lackey, who retired 10 straight at one point but couldn’t get out of the fifth. “I don’t know what planet that’s a hit on, by the way. It’s a flat-out out. But I’ve got to do better than that.

“We get four runs where we’re at right now as a team and four runs needs to be enough to win that game.”

It had been enough 44 of the previous 47 times they scored at least four runs this season.

Not that anybody in the clubhouse is sweating the Cubs’ toughest week of the season as they await the returns of several injured veterans, while using – on this day – four rookies, three of whom made major league debuts within the last three weeks.

“We still have the same mood,” said shortstop Addison Russell, who hit a three-run homer but also committed a costly error for the second game in a row. “There’s a lot of younger ballplayers out there. I like the [aggressive] style we’re playing. It’s just sometimes bad things [happen] and then it snowballs from there.”

Russell’s throwing error on Ichiro Suzuki’s one-out infield “hit” (allowing Suzuki to take second) was the play that got under Lackey’s skin – Suzuki’s 37th hit off Lackey (most against any pitcher he’s faced) and 2,984th of his major-league career.

“I feel like I’ve given up a lot of those kind of infield hits to him,” said Lackey (7-4), who was done three batters, and two runs, later – his shortest outing of the season.

Suzuki also drew a leadoff walk and scored in the first, raising his lifetime on-base percentage against Lackey to .349.

“We’re not taking anything off. We’re just trying to go full speed ahead right now,” Russell said. “We’re a little bit down with players being hurt. But they’re doing what they have to do to come back, and we’re going to continue to be the Chicago Cubs.”

Notes: Second baseman Ben Zobrist, who didn’t start because of a bruise foot suffered when he was hit by a pitch Friday, came off the bench to pinch hit in the eighth and finished the game. …On just his ninth day in the majors, red-hot rookie Willson Contreras made his fifth start, this time in left field – his third position in as many nights. He walked and doubled home a run, making him 8-for-20 with four extra-base hits and nine RBIs. …First baseman Anthony Rizzo returned to the lineup after missing two days with back pain. He doubled twice.


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