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Cubs Drop Seventh Straight As Garza Struggles

Starlin Castro (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Starlin Castro (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

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CINCINNATI (AP) Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer and drove in four overall, and the Cincinnati Reds sent the frustrated Chicago Cubs to their seventh straight loss, 8-2 on Monday night.

Gomes has only two homers since April 17, both of them setting up wins over the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is 5-1 against Chicago and 17-5 over the last two seasons.

Chicago’s slump is its longest since it also dropped seven in a row last July 27-Aug. 3.

Matt Garza (2-5) came off the disabled list and lasted four innings, giving up four runs. Mike Leake (5-2) had an RBI single off the right-hander, who hadn’t pitched since May 17 because of a sore elbow.

Gomes singled home a run off Garza in the second inning. He connected for his eighth homer off Jeff Samardzija, making it 7-2 in the fifth inning and giving the Cubs another bad memory. Gomes ended a monthlong homer drought with a two-run shot that set up a 7-4 win over the Cubs on May 16 and prompted Mike Quade to call a closed-door meeting with his players.

It didn’t get any better in the Cubs’ return.

Drew Stubbs hit a solo homer, and Jay Bruce had three hits and scored three times, helping the Reds win for only the sixth time in 19 games.

Leake gave up 10 hits and two runs in eight innings, improving to 3-0 in four career starts against the Cubs. He also ended a streak of 19 consecutive innings with at least one baserunner against Reds pitching.

The Cubs have repeatedly wasted scoring chances during their stretch of 10 losses in 12 games. They did it again on Monday, adding to their growing frustration.

Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano made amends before the game, apologizing to Carlos Marmol. Zambrano second-guessed the closer’s pitch choices after a 3-2, 10-inning loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Zambrano also said after Sunday’s loss that the Cubs were embarrassing and playing like a Triple-A team.

A moment out of Rookie League helped sink them on Monday.

Kosuke Fukudome and Darwin Barney reached in the third inning. With two outs, Carlos Pena singled sharply to right field, where Bruce came up with the ball quickly. Fukudome was held at third base. Pena rounded first base too far and was tagged out.

Fukudome, Barney and third base coach Ivan De Jesus stood motionless for a few seconds, stunned by the rally-killing lapse.

NOTES: The Cubs sent LH reliever Scott Maine back to Triple-A Iowa to open a roster spot for Garza. … CF Tyler Colvin extended his slump to 0 for 32. … The Reds freshened their bullpen by calling up and optioning RH Chad Reineke to Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati’s bullpen leads the league in innings. … 3B Scott Rolen was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day with an illness. He’s in a 3 for 18 slump. … Bruce extended his hitting streak to eight games. He was the NL’s player of the month for May.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.