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Cubs’ winning streak snapped as Alec Mills loses first start after no-hitter

Mills went six-plus innings and gave up four runs and six hits while striking out seven.

Alec Mills throws during the first inning of Saturday’s game.
AP Photos

It was Alec Mills’ first start since his no-hitter last Sunday in Milwaukee. His bid to repeat history lasted until Eddie Rosario’s home run with two outs in the first inning Saturday in the Cubs’ 8-1 loss to the Twins, who clinched a playoff berth.

Beyond the no-hitter, Mills had been riding a 17-inning scoreless streak, which was the longest active run in the National League. Mills also allowed a homer to Miguel Sano in the seventh inning and went six-plus innings, giving up four runs and six hits and striking out seven as the Cubs’ five-game winning streak was snapped.

The results don’t show it, but Mills thought his stuff was better Saturday than during the no-hitter.

“You may think I’m crazy for saying that,” Mills said. “Made a couple of mistakes, and they made it hurt. That’s why the Twins are a good baseball team. That’s what they do.”

Mills didn’t think the length of his previous outing affected him.

“Obviously, what happened last time was special, but for me it was just a matter of getting back out and getting back to work,” he said.

Gary Hughes dies
The Diamondbacks announced the death of legendary scout Gary Hughes. Hughes was with the Cubs from 2002 to 2011, assisting former general manager Jim Hendry.

Hughes, who died of liver cancer at 79, spent his last two seasons working for Arizona as a professional scout.

During his Cubs tenure, the team made three playoff appearances (2003, 2007, 2008), and Hughes was a key adviser to Hendry.

“He meant so much to all of us in the game,” Hendry told USA Today. “He gave an opportunity to so many people, including myself. If the game of baseball was made up with people like Gary Hughes, we never would have any problems.”

Besides the Cubs and Diamondbacks, Hughes worked with the Giants, Mariners, Mets, Yankees, Expos, Marlins, Rockies, Reds and Red Sox during an esteemed 54-year career. Hughes also helped the Yankees sign John Elway before he committed to football.

Hughes’ death was commemorated during the middle of the first inning.

Quintana coming soon
Ross said Jose Quintana (left lat inflammation) threw great during his 20-pitch simulated game Saturday and will be activated sometime during the Cubs’ stay in Pittsburgh. His role remains to be seen.

Ross said he’d try to get Quintana stretched out during games or when there’s downtime. And if he can’t get stretched out, Quintana would be a piece in the bullpen.

“There’s a lot in the air,” Ross said. “I think a lot of it is based on how he performs and how he feels after going out there and getting back in the mix.”

The current point of the season complicates matters, but Ross said “when guys are on the shelf, you have to build them up.”

“We don’t have enough time or innings to just give them length,” Ross said. “Just going to have to watch where the velocity stays with his outing. If he comes out of the bullpen, I’d like to get him stretched out as much as we can, but we’re putting him in real games and real situations until we’re able to clinch or figure out what’s going to go on after the season.”