Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs' kids shut out by San Diego ``varsity''

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It has come down to this: Pittsburgh's magic number for clinching fourth place ahead of the Cubs is just one after the Cubs lost a 2-0 game to the San Diego Padres late Monday night on ``Cubs Kids Day'' at Petco Park.

Casey Coleman matched hard-throwing Mat Latos nearly out for out through five innings until legging out a one-out triple in the top of the sixth that left him too winded to get through the bottom half of the inning.

And a Cubs lineup that included just one player who has completed a full season in the big leagues - cleanup man Carlos Pena - managed just two hits.

Besides Coleman's triple - which went for naught when next-batter Tony Campana inexplicably tried to bunt for a hit with the bases loaded - Starlin Castro singled leading off the seventh for his National League-leading 204th hit.

He, too, was stranded at third after stealing second and advancing to third on an infield grounder.

``I wanted to see these guys against the varsity a little bit, and they saw some very good pitching,'' Quade said of Latos (9-14) and veteran relievers Chad Qualls and Heath Bell (43rd save).

Notes and quotes from the night:

--The Cubs need to win their final two games Tuesday and Wednesday to pull off back-to-back winning months for the first time since 2008.

--Catcher Steve Clevenger, who played the whole game, and reliever Rafael Dolis, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, each made his major league debut Monday night.

--Quade on Clevenger: ``I thought he did good. He received well. ... That's a kid that a few years ago, there were questions about his catching ability. I think he's erased a lot of those. He looked good to me and did a lot of things you want to see.''

--Quade said he expects Aramis Ramirez to start today after being sidelined since last Tuesday, when he aggravated a sore quad.

--Despite the loss, Coleman (3-9, 6-40) finished the season stronger than he started. He was 1-3, 4.59 in his last six starts - 1-2, 3.34, if you take out the bad one in Cincinnati Sept. 14.

--Coleman on his season: ``Just a learning experience. I picked up on something late in the year [working with pitching coach Mark Riggins] and had a decent last few starts. The one in Cincinnati was bad; I didn't pitch good, didn't handle the game good. But other than that I felt I made a lot of improvements with Riggy, who helped me out and Q being patient with me late in the year. It definitely gives me more confident going into spring training next year.''

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on September 27, 2011 12:30 AM.

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