Struggles return for Cubs as they drop finale to Reds

Struggles return for Cubs as they drop finale to Reds
April 20, 2014, 5:15 pm
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Tony Andracki

It looks like Rick Renteria's message to the Cubs lasted just one day.

Following a feel-good win over the Reds on Saturday, the Cubs regressed and dropped Sunday's series finale, 8-2, in front of 27,927 at Wrigley Field.

The Reds lineup shelled starter Carlos Villanueva, collecting five two-out RBI hits in the fourth and fifth innings. Villanueva, making his third start of the season, gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings but actually lowered his season ERA from 11.37 to 10.93.

Reliever Jose Veras didn't fare much better against this Reds lineup. After lefty Wesley Wright tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings, Veras came on in the seventh and promptly gave up two homers and three more runs.

[MORE: Cubs: The jury is still out on Mike Olt]

Meanwhile, on offense, the Cubs got on base, but struggled again to drive runners in. The Cubs reached safely 18 times (11 hits, six walks, hit by pitch), but scored just two runs — both coming in the seventh inning when the game was already out of hand.

Emilio Bonifacio had a double, single, walk and stolen base, while Anthony Rizzo had two singles and a pair of walks to raise his season average to .339 with a .432 OBP.

Starlin Castro singled once in his five at-bats, extending his hitting streak to 12 games at Wrigley Field, dating back to late last season. He has 15 hits in nine home games so far in 2014.