Maholm struggles as Diamondbacks outslug Cubs

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Maholm struggles as Diamondbacks outslug Cubs

By Jose M. Romero
CSNChicago.com Contributor

PHOENIX Paul Maholm had yet to pitch past seven innings this season, and had yet to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in five previous career starts against them.

He got help from his defense and even helped himself with a two-run home run, but was undone by a big inning as Maholm and the Cubs dropped the second game of their three-game set with the D-backs, 10-5 Saturday night at Chase Field.

It got away from Maholm quickly in the fourth as the Diamondbacks batted around. Arizona scored six runs on four singles, a triple and an error. Jason Kubel, one of the hottest hitters in the majors this month, raised his National League-best June RBI total to 22 with a two-run base hit.

Maholm (4-6) left after getting only one out in the inning. He came into the fourth with a 2-1 lead and left having allowed six earned runs (seven total) on nine hits in 3 13 innings.

Maholms home run, the first homer for a Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano did it against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 6 of last year, came in the fourth inning. Up until the bottom of the inning, the Cubs had shined in the field.

In the second inning, second baseman Adrian Cardenas hustled from his position and raced between two teammates to flag down a shallow popup near foul territory in right field. The play was important because the D-backs loaded the bases afterward, and Alfonso Soriano secured the third out by diving to catch a sinking line drive from Aaron Hill.

But an error by third baseman Luis Valbuena in the fourth helped open the floodgates for the Diamondbacks. And as it turned out, they needed a lot of those runs, because the Cubs battled back.

Steve Clevenger doubled into the gap in right-center field to drive in Soriano and Geovany Soto and cut the Arizona lead to 7-4. That was all for Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy, who equaled his shortest outing of the season, 4 13 innings, and was charged with five runs after pinch-hitter Jeff Baker singled in Clevenger with two out.

David DeJesus and Starlin Castro both went 4-for-5 to tie career highs in hits in a game for the 10th and eighth time, respectively, and Cardenas added two hits. But the Cubs (24-47) came up short for the third straight game despite collecting 14 hits as a team.

Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt hit solo home runs for the Diamondbacks, who climbed above .500 (36-35) for the first time since May 4, when they were 14-13 at the end of that day.

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

In a season where the triple-double has become commonplace to the point of stat chasing in the effort to chase history, Dwyane Wade didn't mind snatching his own piece of turf.

In a game where teammate Jimmy Butler reached the feat for the first time this season, it would've been doubly satisfactory for Wade to achieve the fifth triple-double of his career.

One rebound away in the final seconds of the Bulls' 117-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the memo didn't reach Cristiano Felicio, who reached over Wade to grab a rebound, causing it to harmlessly fall out of bounds and ending Wade's chance at history.

After Wade finished with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes, he was asked if he "hated" Felicio for interrupting his moment.

"No hate. Just a strong dislike, though," said Wade with a wry smile. "You know how long it's been since I had a triple double? It's been a long time."

It's been six years, as his last triple-double came in the 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat, achieving the feat with a 22-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist performance against the then-Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 4, 2011.

Even more than the statistical feat was Wade's variety, as he grabbed seven rebounds in the decisive third-quarter run that broke the game open, hitting Butler and Bobby Portis for long touchdown passes that would've had Jay Cutler or whichever quarterback the Cleveland Browns are banking on next fall, blushing.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact it was on the second night of a back-to-back with the Bulls winning in overtime against the Phoenix Suns—a game where Wade turned it up late then threw it down over Alex Len in overtime.

"I think we just found our groove," Wade said. "We've had some injuries that have gone on but we're playing good basketball."

More pointedly, so is Wade, aided by him often finding Felicio for easy dunks on the pick and roll as they play second and fourth quarters together. 

Felicio was clearly bothered by his gaffe, which was made worse by the take-no-prisoners approach from Wade and Butler. When a member of foreign media approached him about an interview, Felicio said "you're not asking me about that last rebound, are you?"

Later in the evening, Felicio went to Twitter, posting "I did not know!!" in reference to Wade's night.

"I told him I didn't not even gonna act like I ain't mad at him. I'm very mad at him," said Wade with a laugh. "But he's all good. He said he didn't see me down there. So he took a shot at my height. It's cool. Jimmy had one. It would've been nice to have two triple doubles."

"I'm sure a stat would've came out that would've said, ‘Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are the first duo to get a triple-double on a back-to-back since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen', since they got every record around here."

He was close, although Jordan and Pippen didn't achieve their feat on a back-to-back but a random night in the 1988-89 season. Jordan scored 41 with 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Pippen had 15 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126-121 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We laugh about that often, but it's all good," Wade said. "I gotta work harder till I get another one one day."

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