For all the dismal seasons Chicago Cubs fans have suffered through over the last 45-plus years, a 100-loss campaign is not among them.
That would change with another defeat Sunday against the host Arizona Diamondbacks , who look to complete a three-game sweep.
After falling 8-2 on Saturday, Chicago (59-99) needs to win its remaining four games to avoid hitting the 100-loss mark for the first time since the 1966 team went 59-103 in Leo Durocher 's first season as manager.
The Cubs also fell to 0-18 in road games versus the NL West this season and will need a win Sunday to avoid being the first team since baseball shifted to divisional play in 1969 to go winless on the road against a single division.
They mustered only four hits and didn't score until Alfonso Soriano 's ninth-inning two-run homer Saturday."At this point, we are trying to win four games out of four right now," manager Dale Sveum said. "A lot of ways it is important because if we lose (Sunday) we are going to lose 100 games. That is the bottom line. (Sunday) is as important as any game we play, West Coast or whatever. The bottom line is we have to win (Sunday) not to lose 100 games." '
The Diamondbacks (80-78) played without Paul Goldschmidt (sore back) for the second straight day, but they got plenty of offensive help from Aaron Hill and Justin Upton on Saturday. Hill went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs, while Upton hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs.
Goldschmidt's replacement, Mike Jacobs , went 2 for 4 with an RBI as Arizona won for the fifth time in six home games."Even though we're out of it, if we can play good baseball for the last four games, it will just give us a whole mindset going into next year," said Trevor Cahill , who threw a four-hitter for his third career complete game.
Josh Collmenter will get his second straight start after pitching well on short notice in his last outing.
Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA) was notified late Monday night he would pitch Tuesday, then gave up one run and two hits in five innings of a 7-2 win at San Francisco.
He's won each of his last four starts with a 3.52 ERA dating to July 6, but he also has seven relief appearances mixed in during that stretch.
"I just have confidence, I guess, that he'll be able to handle it," manager Kirk Gibson told the team's official website.
The right-hander gave up one run and struck out six in four innings of Arizona's 6-1 win over the Cubs on June 22 in his only career start in the series.
Chicago will counter with struggling rookie Chris Rusin , who was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings of Tuesday's 10-5 loss at Colorado.
Rusin (1-3, 7.30) has yet to complete more than five innings in six starts, and he's allowed at least five runs in three of those."Rusin was just up in the zone with not a whole lot of life on anything," Sveum said.
The left-hander has yet to face Arizona, which has won six straight home meetings with the Cubs.
|September 11, 2012||Anthony Rizzo||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right shoulder|
|September 07, 2012||Blake Parker||60-Day DL||Bone contusion in right elbow|
|September 07, 2012||Brett Jackson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right knee|
|July 28, 2012||Matt Garza||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, right elbow|
|July 21, 2012||Matt Garza||Day-to-Day||Left game - right triceps cramp|
|June 16, 2012||Ryan Dempster||15-Day DL||Right lat tightness|
|September 28, 2012||Paul Goldschmidt||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|September 11, 2012||J.J. Putz||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 30, 2012||Chris Johnson||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|August 21, 2012||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Tight hamstring|
|August 17, 2012||Jason Kubel||Day-to-Day||Neck stiffness|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
PHOENIX (AP) -- For one afternoon, Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum could laugh about his team's travails on the basepaths.
"We're like a vitamin - one a day," Sveum said after actually watching two runners get thrown out Sunday in a 7-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks .
"You don't teach it. You don't see it. Strange stuff. It's unbelievable."
Such stuff is one of the reasons the Chicago is in the midst of its own final-week push, this one to avoid becoming the first Cubs team since 1966 to lose 100 games.
With 99 losses already after ending a seven-game losing streak, the Cubs will have to sweep their last three games against the only major league team with a worse record - the 106-loss Houston Astros .
"I'm expecting a little bit of a playoff atmosphere to try and avoid that number," Sveum said. "It'll be fun, at least as much fun as we can have in this season to try and stay away from it."
Anthony Rizzo had three hits and David DeJesus homered. The win was Chicago's second in its past 13 games overall.
"It wasn't the prettiest thing ever," Sveum said.
Chris Rusin (2-3) allowed one earned run and three hits in five innings.
"I was a little wild in the first inning but was able to find it between innings," Rusin said. "It feels good to get the win and we've got to try to get three more wins against Houston."
Brian LaHair's two-run single capped a four-run sixth inning against Bryan Shaw (1-6) and two other Arizona relievers.
Chicago trailed 2-1 when Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano singled with one out in the sixth. Starlin Castro was safe when first baseman Mike Jacobs couldn't pick up his grounder down the line, and the error loaded the bases.
After Mike Zagurski struck out Luis Valbuena , Matt Albers relieved. Pinch hitter Dave Sappelt hit a grounder that Jacobs scooped, but the throw to Albers covering first base was a half-second late. Sappelt's infield hit made it 2-all.
Albers then hit Anthony Recker with a pitch to force home the go-ahead run and LaHair's single made it 5-2.
LaHair was caught standing between first and second after his hit and tagged out by Jacobs to end the inning rally.
In the third inning, Rizzo was picked off between first and second when he pulled up thinking Soriano had struck out for the final out of the inning.
The Cubs added an unearned run in the seventh on a three-base throwing error by Brad Bergesen , the Diamondbacks' fifth of seven pitchers, and another error two batters later by third baseman Cody Ransom .
"We gave up seven runs and three of them were earned," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "That's pretty tough. We can be frustrated but the reality of it is they had three earned runs out of seven. It wasn't a very clean game from the seventh inning on."
DeJesus homered to right off Takashi Saito in the ninth for Chicago's final run.
Rizzo doubled home DeJesus in the first against Josh Collmenter for a 1-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the bottom half. Ransom drove in a run with an infield single and another scored on Recker's error for dropping Rusin's throw home for a would-be force out.
Collmenter went five innings, allowing a run on six hits with two strikeouts.
"I thought we would be able to get to their guy, but they did a good job from the first inning on," Collmenter said.
NOTES: SS Castro came up limping after turning a double play in the eighth but remained in the game. ... Aaron Hill went 1 for 3 to move into fifth place on the Diamondbacks' single-season hits list with 180. ... Collmenter, who started the season in rotation but floundered, finished the year with 11 starts and 17 relief appearances. He allowed 20 earned runs in his first four starts but only 17 the rest of the way. ... Cubs 2B Darwin Barney , whose 141-game errorless streak was snapped on Friday, returned to the lineup after an off day on Saturday. ... Arizona 1B Paul Goldschmidt missed his third straight game with a sore back. ... RHP Jason Berken (0-2) will be the next to try and keep the Cubs from their 100th loss when he takes the mound Monday night against RHP Lucas Harrell (10-11) and the Houston Astros . Berken will be making his fourth start since he was claimed off waivers from Baltimore on Sept. 7. ... Arizona LHP Wade Miley (16-11) will face Colorado LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-9) on Monday. Miley is tied with Jason Jennings , the 2002 NL Rookie of the Year, for the most wins by an NL rookie since 1986.