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posted: 5/6/2010 12:01 AM

Bats dormant -- again -- as Cubs road woes continue

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  • Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez gloves a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit in the third inning.

      Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez gloves a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit in the third inning.
    Associated Press

 
 

PITTSBURGH - The Cubs' clubhouse was as quiet as it's been all season after Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Maybe it was as quiet as the Cubs' bats have been.

In dropping the first two games of this series, the Cubs have scored a grand total of 4 runs, wiping out the memory of a huge offensive output during the final three games of the recent homestand.

"We better be able to win with 2 runs once in awhile," said manager Lou Piniella, whose team fell to 13-15. "I thought the way we swung the bats at the end of this homestand we'd come on the road, and it would be a nice carry-over. We still got four games, but the first two games didn't start the right way."

It seemed to set up nicely for the Cubs against Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton, who entered with a record of 0-5 and an ERA of 12.57.

Not so fast, said Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd.

"Nope, not at all," said Byrd, who picked up 1 of the Cubs' 5 hits. "When you got good pitching, that's what happens. Morton did a great job tonight. The bullpen came in and shut the door. This is big-league pitching. We've got to get back on track some way, somehow. Get the energy back like we had at home."

The way to do that, according to Byrd, is to keep grinding.

"You've got to grind at-bats out," he said. "We're better than this. But we have to show it. We have to stop talking about it and actually go on the field and do it."

Cubs lefty Ted Lilly made his third start since coming off the disabled list and wasn't super sharp. He gave up a run in the first and 3 in the third on consecutive doubles by Andy LaRoche, Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones.

"I haven't been able to identify exactly what it is, but I think that I was a little better today, still not mechanically the way I'd like," Lilly said. "I'm not using my lower half the way I'd like, so I start doing that, and it takes less effort to throw the ball a little harder."

The Cubs came within a run in the fourth when they loaded the bases on one-out singles by Derrek Lee, Byrd and Alfonso Soriano. Aramis Ramirez, dropped to sixth in the order, hit a sacrifice fly, and Mike Fontenot drove in the other run with a single. But that was it. The Cubs are 7-6 at home and 6-9 on the road.

"What are you going to do?" Piniella said. "Look, I don't know. I don't have answers for this. It's just a disparity between the numbers that we put up at home offensively and the numbers that we put up on the road. I don't have an answer for it, I really don't. But there's a remarkable difference.

"Outside of (three wins in) Milwaukee, it's been a chore to score runs."

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