Cubs reach 13 straight home losses; setback for Hoerner

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs second baseman Matt Duffy sits on the field after Kansas City Royals' Andrew Benintendi hit a 2-run double in the third inning Sunday at Wrigley Field.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Matt Duffy sits on the field after Kansas City Royals' Andrew Benintendi hit a 2-run double in the third inning Sunday at Wrigley Field. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/22/2021 7:14 PM

The bad news keeps rolling in for the Cubs.

They were pounded 9-1 by Kansas City on Sunday, setting a franchise record with their 13th consecutive loss at Wrigley Field. The Cubs haven't won a home game since July 26, a few days before the flurry of trades began.

 

The Cubs have gone 4-17 since the trade deadline, 12-39 since the combined no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on June 24.

"Listen, it's no fun to lose," manager David Ross said. "Nobody's having a good time. But what I do know we all should be really thankful that we're in the major leagues and get a chance to put on this uniform and play baseball for the Chicago Cubs.

"These guys work their tail off and they go out there and compete the best they can. Sometimes that doesn't work out, sometimes it does. Right now it's not working out a lot. We'll put our pants on tomorrow, go out and try to take it to the Rockies."

Bad news arrived during the game with injured infielder Nico Hoerner pulling himself out of a rehab assignment game in South Bend on Sunday. The Cubs said Hoerner felt increased tension along his right oblique and wanted to play it safe.

Hoerner started a rehab assignment in Class A. The plan was for Hoerner to move over to the Triple A Iowa Cubs when they begin a homestand on Tuesday and if all went well, possibly return to the Cubs next weekend for the series against the White Sox.

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Hoerner, who started the game at shortstop, grounded to short in the first inning, then left the game during his second at-bat in the third. He swung and missed, signaled to the dugout and walked off the field. Hoerner last played on July 28 when he suffered an oblique strain while taking a swing against the Reds.

So while the immediate outlook for the Cubs remains gloomy, there's no real incentive to improve right now. As long as they've entered rebuilding mode, they might as well secure the highest draft pick they can.

Maybe they can at least end the losing streak with Kyle Hendricks on the mound Monday. Hendricks somehow still leads the majors with 14 victories and he ended the Cubs' 12-game overall losing streak in his last start at Cincinnati.

Alec Mills hadn't allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his 12 previous starts this season. On Sunday, he gave up 6 earned runs on 11 hits in just 4 innings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"To be honest with you, they just executed better than I did today," Mills said. "I failed. When you don't get the first batter of the inning out, hardly at all, it's not going to be a good start, especially with a team that puts the pressure on the bases like they do."

Mills retired the side in order in the first inning, but then Kansas City put the leadoff man on base in the next seven innings. The Cubs have to be envious of the Royals' top two in the order, Whit Merrifield and Naperville Central grad Nicky Lopez. Those two combined to go 4-for-7 at the plate with 2 walks, and the Royals added a pair of stolen bases.

"When there's a threat of running, maybe it can mess with you a little bit," Mills said. "At the same time, it's a team that doesn't strike out a lot. I really needed to execute better.

"Just go home, play with my son, try to clear my head, enjoy the night and come back tomorrow and figure what I need to do better next time."

The surreal season sloshes along for the Cubs. After winning two road games in Cincinnati, it seemed like their offense was picking up, since Frank Schwindel, Rafael Ortega and Matt Duffy getting hot, and Michael Hermosillo homered in his first start for the Cubs. But they scored just 5 runs in three games while getting swept by KC.

"We just want to win," Mills said. "It's obviously not a fun clubhouse after games right now but we're doing everything we can. We plan on really doing some things to help us out in the future."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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