The Cubs nearly survived themselves Sunday.
Not quite, though.
As poorly played as the 10-7, 10-inning loss to the Giants was, the Cubs were one strike away from a 7-6 victory in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field.
But reliever Shawn Camp, the designated closer of the day, gave up a two-out home run to Hunter Pence to make it a tie game. In the 10th, Camp balked home the go-ahead run as the Giants scored 3 runs.
In the end, the Cubs put up numbers like this: 5 wild pitches, 5 walks allowed, 1 passed ball, 1 hit batter, 1 balk and 2 blown saves.
And as long as they were going, the Cubs went big. The 5 wild pitches all came in the sixth inning -- 2 by starter Edwin Jackson and 3 by Michael Bowden -- to set a major-league record.
Believe it or not, the Cubs did not commit an error. Right fielder Nate Schierholtz did drop a flyball, but he was spared the error when he threw to second for a forceout.
The Cubs held a 4-1 lead after the first inning, but they frittered it away with that aforementioned symphony of badness.
"To have the lead like that and give it up because of walks and then battle back and take the lead and to have two outs and two strikes to put the game away and end up losing the game, that's as tough as any of them so far," said manager Dale Sveum, whose Cubs fell to 4-8.
The Cubs have been plagued by poor or inattentive defense for most of the early going. So how do they keep the situation from snowballing?
"That's up to the players as much as an anything," Sveum said. "I've had my meetings and that. To lose games … like I said … whatever reason you want to say we lost that game, the guys battled.
"We had the lead. We swung the bats good early. We had some big hits. (Infielder Alberto) Gonzalez came up big a couple times.
"We took the lead with two outs and two strikes. (Camp) shook off and then went to the slider and gave up the home run."
Camp took responsibility for the loss.
"First and foremost, the team played unbelievable," he said. "The adversity they (overcame), the offense, coming back. The biggest disheartening thing to me was I let the team down today. I've just got to bounce back and not let that happen again."
On the balk, Camp said his spike caught and he "froze up," when he tried a pickoff throw in the 10th with runners on first and third.
Also in line for mea culpas was starting pitcher Jackson, who is without a quality start in his 3 outings and now has a 6.06 ERA.
"First of all it's inexcusable to let your team down like that where you've self-imploded in an inning and not making adjustments to regain control of your pitches," he said.
"I let a flaw pretty much detonate the inning and ruin the game. It's definitely imperative that I make whatever adjustments needed to be made as soon as possible to regain control of the game."
Lost in the mess was the solid relief appearance turned in by exiled closer Carlos Marmol, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth. It's possible he could be working his way back to his old job.
"Yeah, I'd be lying to you (to say) he wasn't working his way back into it," Sveum said. "He's throwing strikes. He's throwing his slider more and more consistently. Yeah, he's working his way back. That was part of the deal."
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