The Cubs began the second half of the schedule on Wednesday with a long ways to go to reach respectability. They had a 35-46 record, trailing first-place Pittsburgh by 15 1/2 games. “Our two biggest problems obviously are (lack of hitting with) men in scoring position and closing out games with the bullpen,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Those are things we’ve got to get better at.” The Cubs bullpen led the majors with 17 blown saves, while their .230 average with runners in scoring position was third worst in the majors. Matt Garza made the start for the Cubs with plenty of scouts watching intently. He threw eight strong innings, allowing one run on four hits before turning it over to closer Kevin Gregg after 114 pitches. "Six, seven years my name has been thrown around," Garza said. "Until my phone rings, I'm going to be a Cub and stay a Cub." Garza (4-1) now is 3-0 over his last four starts with an 0.90 earned-run average. "I'm just worried about the next five days," he said, repeating his 2013 mantra. Gregg closed it out with a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities. He walked John Jaso with two outs in the inning and watched him steal second before Josh Reddick struck out to end it. The Cubs clinched a winning road trip and can make it four straight series wins with a victory on Thursday. The Cubs jumped out to a quick lead off Bartolo Colon on Alfonso Soriano's RBI single in the first, before Luis Valbuena homered in the third. Garza was nicked in the fourth on Brandon Moss' solo home run. Colon lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on nine hits. The Cubs added a run in the eighth off Sean Doolittle on two-out doubles by Dioner Navarro and Brian Bogusevic.
Garza dominates in Cubs' 3-1 win over A's
Chicago Tribune | Jul 4