Walk this Way

Walks continue to hurt the Cubs. Entering Wednesday's action against Florida, the Cubs were fourth in the National League in free passes, surrendering 78 in their first 19 games.

The Cubs had a three-game winning streak snapped when they dropped a 7-5 decision to Florida. Cubs pitchers walked eight batters and six scored.

"We have to cut down on walks," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We're playing well in other areas of the game. We need to keep on doing what we're doing but cut down the walks."

REPLAY: Reliever Scott Williamson gave up three runs in the eighth inning, and the Cubs had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 7-5 loss to Florida at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

Williamson gave up three walks in the frame and had a key balk on what looked like a successful pickoff of Eric Reed at first base. With the bases loaded, Bob Howry came in and gave up a fly to right, but John Mabry, who came in with Howry on the double-switch, lost the ball in the sun and it dropped for a two-run single.


--RHP Angel Guzman made his major league debut and left Wednesday's game after five innings with the score tied at 3. He had his ups and downs, giving up three runs on six hits with four walks, a hit batsman and five strikeouts.

--C Michael Barrett was sent for X-rays on his right middle finger Wednesday, and no breaks were found. Barrett jammed the finger in Tuesday night's game. He didn't start Wednesday afternoon's game, but he wasn't scheduled to because it was a day game after a night game. Barrett is listed as day-to-day but was not available to pinch-hit Wednesday.

--3B Aramis Ramirez hit his fourth homer of the year Wednesday against Florida. He is batting just .206, but hitting coach Gene Clines said he was not worried because Ramirez had been hitting the ball hard.

--RHP Kerry Wood (shoulder and knee surgery) threw three innings against Rookie League hitters in Arizona on Wednesday. He fired 39 pitches and struck out five while walking one. He likely will pitch again Monday, although the Cubs must decide if it will be another Rookie League game or if they want to send him out on a rehab assignment.

--LHP Rich Hill, whom the Cubs considered for a starter's spot after demoting RHP Jerome Williams, gave up one run on two hits with 10 strikeouts in six innings for Triple-A Iowa against Round Rock on Tuesday.

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