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

Still no closer in 10-7 Cubs loss

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One thing was clear after one of the most muddled Cubs games ever Sunday: the team's bullpen problems have not been solved.
Nor has the problem of finding a closer, with Sunday's candidate, Shawn Camp, falling one strike short when he gave up a game-tying home run in the ninth before a balk in the 10th scored the go-ahead run of an eventual 10-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
The situation is fractured enough that just-demoted closer Carlos Marmol may find himself back in the role until injured Kuyji Fujikawa returns.
``I'd be lying if I said he wasn't working his way back to it,'' manager Dale Sveum admitted after Marmol's one inning of relief was the bullpen's best.
``He's throwing strikes. He's throwing his slider more consistent. He's working his way back. That was part of the deal.
``Ultimately you'd like to settle on a single guy [to close],'' Sveum said. ``I think ultimately that helps everybody. Right now, we're obviously still searching for that role.''
Sveum's hopes of using a day-to-day fill-in went sour for Camp, whose two out, two strike pitch to Hunter Pence ended up in the center field seats, tying the game at 7-7 after what had been an uplifting Cubs' comeback in the eighth.
``He shook off [catcher Dioner Navarro] twice and went with a slider,'' Sveum said of the home run pitch.
``I've faced him probably 10 times and made that pitch a thousand times,'' Camp said. ``A hanging breaking ball and it cost us.''
Worse was the balk he committed in the 10th that allowed Brandon Crawford to score from third.
Even that seemed a hex, with his spikes catching in the dirt as he made a move to first.
``That's the first time that has ever happened in my career,'' said Camp (0-1). ``The biggest disappointment to me is letting the team down after the team fought so hard to come back.''
The Cubs had rallied with two runs in the eighth to take the lead again after a horrendous sixth inning for starter Edwin Jackson and reliever Michael Bowden.
They set a major league record throwing five wild pitches -- two from Jackson with two walks and three by Bowden - leading to a four-run inning for the Giants and a 5-4 lead.
``It was inexcusable on my part,'' said Jackson, who had struck out nine before ``completely losing his fastball in the sixth,'' Sveum said.
``I can't let the team down in an inning like that when they fought hard to get me a lead,'' Jackson said.
A pair of two-run homers in the first off Tim Lincecum from Starlin Castro (second) and Nate Schierholtz (second) gave Jackson a 4-1 lead.
Another home run in the seventh by Alberto Gonzalez (first) pulled the Cubs to within 6-5, and a two-run eighth had them poised for victory.
But as Sveum has said often lately, the last three outs have been the most elusive.
``It's as tough as any of them so far,'' Sveum said of the loss. ``We've battled to the end, but we're having trouble shutting a game down. The bullpen can't seem to finish off a game.''

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This page contains a single entry by Toni Ginnetti published on April 14, 2013 6:57 PM.

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