Something Had to Give

With the offense in a season-long funk, something had to give sooner rather than later.

"Something" came on Sunday, when the Cubs fired hitting coach Gerald Perry and replaced him with Von Joshua, the hitting coach at Class AAA Iowa (Des Moines).

"Obviously, we've been struggling for a long time," said Cubs' general manager Jim Hendry, who announced the change. "I'm not one to dump all the blame on coaches... But I think sometimes you need a different voice."

The Cubs entered Sunday batting .246 as a team, which ranked them 13th in the National League. They were 14th in runs, 12th in on-base percentage and 10th in walks.

Last season, the Cubs led the NL in several key offensive categories and were near the top in others.

One thing hurting the offense this year has been the injury to third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who has been out since early May with a dislocated left shoulder. However, players such as left fielder Alfonso Soriano and catcher Geovany Soto have been inconsistent or under-performing all year long.

"We're struggling offensively for reasons way beyond Aramis being gone," Hendry said.

"Everyday we have five guys in the lineup that have been in the All-Star game. For whatever reason, they're not performing anywhere close to where they've performed in their careers."

CUBS 3, TWINS 2: 2B Ryan Theriot's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the ninth drove home Derrek Lee with the winning run. LHP Ted Lilly worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and two runs in getting a no-decision. Soto had a pair of doubles.


--Lee extended his hitting streak to 13 games Sunday. Lee has reached base safely in 23 straight games. Since May 16, Lee has raised his batting average from .198 to .278.

--Soriano was 0-for-4, and his OBP has fallen to .296. Manager Lou Piniella, however, is not inclined to move Soriano out of the leadoff spot. Soriano's batting average has fallen to .229, and he's 14-for-95 (.147) over his last 22 games.

--Lilly recorded his team-high 10th quality start. He did not get a decision, but he lowered his ERA from 3.00 to 2.94. He has pitched six or more innings in 11 starts.

BY THE NUMBERS: 38 -- The Cubs have gotten 38 quality starts from their pitchers. That's tops in the big leagues. The starters have a 2.17 ERA in those starts.

HE SAID IT: "What am I going to do? I've changed the lineup. I've basically played everybody we've got. I don't know what else to do with it, I'll be honest with you. You just let them play and work your way out of it. I wish I had a magic formula for it. I don't. I really don't." -- Piniella on his team's hitting woes.


--Soto had just seven extra-base hits entering Sunday, but he put up his first two-double game of the season, going 3-for-4. His three hits matched a season high.

--RHP Carlos Marmol earned the victory Sunday despite another shaky outing. Marmol walked two in 1 1/3 innings. In 30 1/3 innings, he has walked 30 batters.

--Soriano moved from left field to second base in the ninth inning Saturday against Minnesota. It was the one-time second baseman's first game there this season. Soriano appeared once at second last year. Piniella brought Micah Hoffpauir into the game in the eighth and wanted to keep both his and Soriano's bats in the lineup. Hoffpauir played left in the ninth.



At Des Moines, the Cubs (33-31) got a walk-off pinch-hit RBI single from Steve Clevenger to complete a three-run ninth inning rally en route to the victory Sunday. Iowa collected 12 hits total. RF Jake Fox and 1B Bobby Scales each finished 2-for-5 with two RBI. LHP J.R. Mathes started and tossed six innings, allowing four earned runs and nine hits. He did not factor into the decision. LHP Neal Cotts (1-0) got the win in relief with a scoreless ninth inning. The Cubs have won five of their last six games.


At Mobile, Ala., the BayBears rallied past the Smokies (28-36) with two runs in the ninth inning to complete the victory Sunday. 1B Russ Canzler (3-for-4) paced the Smokies' offense with three hits, including his third Double-A home run. C Welington Castillo (2-for-4) and LF Jim Adduci (2-for-4, double, walk) added two hits. Adduci extended his hit streak to eight consecutive games and is batting .429 (18-for-42) in 12 games in June and .296 overall this season. RHP Jay Jackson returned from the disabled list and scattered one run and four hits over five innings. He struck out six batters and did not allow a walk in his first start since May 29. He did not factor into the decision. LHP Jayson Ruhlman (2-1) suffered the loss in relief. He was charged two runs and one hit in one inning.


At Daytona Beach, the Cubs collected five hits in the victory Sunday with LF Tony Campana (2-for-4, two RBI) leading the team in hits. CF Brandon Guyer made his first Daytona start after being sent down from Tennessee and was 1-for-3. LHP James Leverton (3-7) started and scattered one run and three hits over five innings in the victory. He struck out three batters and walked two.


The Cubs (29-29) were again held to five hits in the loss as five Daytona players recorded one hit apiece. 3B Jovan Rosa (1-for-3) hit his team-leading 15th double and Starlin Castro (1-for-1) pinch-hit and collected his ninth double. RHP Dan McDaniel (3-4) started and suffered the loss, allowing four runs and eight hits in three innings. He walked three batters and struck out two.


At Peoria, the Chiefs (31-30) collected nine hits in the victory Sunday to snap a seven-game losing streak. 3B Josh Vitters (3-for-4, RBI) paced the offense with three hits, including his 11th double. It was Vitters' second multi-hit game this month after he recorded 15 multi-hit games in May. The Cubs' top prospect is batting .327 for the season. CF Kyler Burke (2-for-4) hit his 27th double, the most in all of major league and minor league baseball. RHP Marcus Hatley (5-4) started and turned in his best outing of the season, firing six scoreless innings and allowing just four hits. He struck out two and walked one.

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