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McKnight: Almost, But Not Quite, For Cubs Against Brewers

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Relief pitcher Shawn Camp #54 of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field after giving up two runs to the Milwaukee Brewers during the sixth inning at Wrigley Field on April 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Relief pitcher Shawn Camp #54 of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field after giving up two runs to the Milwaukee Brewers during the sixth inning at Wrigley Field on April 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

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By Connor McKnight-

WRIGLEY FIELD (WSCR) — Cubs short stop Starlin Castro entered Monday’s game against the Brewers having reached base in each of the last 43 games he’d played.  Making it 44 could have given the Cubs their first ninth-inning rally of the year.

Castro’s at-bat ended more like Mighty Casey’s than Roy Hobbs’ (in the movie at least) and the Brewers took the opener 7-5.

A called third strike on a breaking ball from Brewers closer John Axford ended Castro’s streak and the Cubs rally.  But don’t let that suck the joy out of old Mudville yet.

“We’re not going to give up,” Darwin Barney said after the loss. “We saw some of their best guys and put up good at-bats and gave ourselves a chance.”

Despite a record of 1-3, the Cubs have been in each game.  Chris Volstad’s line–5 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K–ended a streak of quality starts from the Cubs pitching staff but Volstad, too, was pointing out the positive he’s seen from the team.

“We’re going to fight,” Volstad said. “We’re right there. I think players are showing that. We not a team that’s ever going to give up. … We were there for all those games. [If] one or two things go differently, [we're] 3-1.”

Return Of Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez spent the better part of nine seasons with the Cubs.  Monday, he was back in Wrigley wearing enemy colors.

“It’s different,” Ramirez said. “I spent most the time of my career–almost nine years here in Chicago–playing for the other side.  Being in the visitor’s clubhouse is a little weird.”

The Cubs held and option on Ramirez that would have paid the third baseman nearly $14 million dollars.  With the new front office and the rebuilding philosophy, it was clear there was no room left for the Cubs second most prolific third baseman of all-time.

For his part, Ramirez says there were no hard feelings.

“Like I said, everybody got their own priorities,” Ramirez said. “Their priorities is to go out and get younger and build a farm system.  You can see that.  They didn’t spend any money.  They didn’t go out and sign any free agents because they want to start from the bottom, I guess.”

Flashing Power

Darwin Barney hit the Cubs’ first home run of the season off righty Shaun Marcum in the second at-bat of the game, Monday.  Barney, who’s not known for his power, was surprised he was the man to snag the honors.

“I might have put my salary on that I wouldn’t [have hit the first homer],” Barney said.

Bryan LaHair made his play for the highlight reels in the second when he took a pitch from Marcum and dumped it onto Sheffield Avenue.

“I definitely got all of that ball,” LaHair said. “I got good extension on it. I was happy with it.”

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