Cubs snap skid to get Maholm's first win

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Cubs snap skid to get Maholm's first win

CHICAGO - Paul Maholm pitched six solid innings to earn his first win in nine months and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 on Saturday to stop a six-game slide. Maholm (1-2) allowed one run and four hits to snap a personal six-game losing streak. The left-hander struck out five and walked three in his first victory since July 10 for Pittsburgh against the Cubs. Darwin Barney and Steve Clevenger each had three hits for the Cubs, who grabbed control with a four-run second inning. Starlin Castro had a double and a triple. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips went a combined 1 for 7 for the Reds, who have lost six of nine. Mike Leake (0-2) allowed 10 hits and five runs in 5 2-3 innings. One day after he learned he will not face charges over an alleged sexual assault, Castro tripled home a run in the second and doubled in the fifth. The 21-year-old shortstop also committed two errors to run his major league-worst total to seven. State's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly said Friday police and prosecutors reviewing the case found insufficient evidence to charge Castro. His attorneys have said the allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman last fall are baseless. Phillips singled in a run in the first, but Bryan LaHair hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half and the Cubs added four more runs in the second. Clevenger led off with a single to right and moved to second on a groundout. Joe Mather followed with an RBI double to left. Mather advanced on Leake's errant pickoff attempt and scored on David DeJesus' single. Barney added a run-scoring double and came home on Castro's first triple of the season to make it 5-1. Clevenger added an RBI single in the seventh as the Cubs finished with a season-high 14 hits. Clevenger, the backup catcher, is 10 for 17 on the season. The Reds had runners on third and second with no outs in the seventh, but James Russell retired Stubbs, Votto and Phillips to get out of the inning. NOTES: Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. OF Tony Campana was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, and Randy Wells will start in place of Dempster on Sunday. Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Cubs in holding pattern with Jorge Soler

Cubs in holding pattern with Jorge Soler

PITTSBURGH — The Cubs are downplaying the discomfort Jorge Soler has been feeling on his right side, saying the injury-prone outfielder should be cleared by this weekend and for what they hope will be a long run into October.

Soler stayed back in Chicago for another MRI and didn’t travel with the team to Pittsburgh, where the Cubs are trying to find the right balance between keeping players rested and sharp with a division title and the National League’s No. 1 seed already clinched.

“Nothing horrible,” manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday at PNC Park. “Nothing to be highly concerned about. But we kept him back for the test.”

Soler — who had already gotten an initial scan — didn’t play in five consecutive games (Sept. 17-21). He then pinch-hit against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday and started in right field the next day at Wrigley Field.

“The side bothers him,” Maddon said. “It wasn’t bad. I know that.”

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A series of injuries have stalled Soler’s career — he missed almost two months this season with a strained left hamstring — but there is no denying his immense talent, right-handed power and age-24 potential.

Built like an NFL linebacker, Soler is hitting .240 with 12 homers, 31 RBIs and a .773 OPS in 85 games, making him a physical presence in the lineup that opponents have to respect.

Whether or not you believe in the concept of clutch hitting, Soler played a big role in knocking the Cardinals out of last year’s playoffs, setting a new major-league record by getting on base in his first nine career postseason plate appearances and launching two homers in four games.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs reach 100 wins for first time since 1935

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs reach 100 wins for first time since 1935

CSN's David Kaplan hosts a discussion with today's panel: Ravi Baichwal from ABC 7, David Haugh lead columnist from the Chicago Tribune, and Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times. The group discusses the Cubs reaching 100 wins on the season, talk Jay Cutler's future as Bears QB, and Scott Paddock stops by to talk NASCAR.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: