It Was a June Swoon

Soriano one of many not hitting

June was not kind to the Cubs. After entering the month with a 25-24 record, the Cubs went 11-14 in June, including Tuesday's 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh.

The loss left the Cubs with a record of 36-38. They suffered their first losing month since August 2007, when they went 12-16.

If there is any bright spot, it's that the starting pitching has been good. Ted Lilly turned in the Cubs' 47th quality start of the season in a losing effort Tuesday. That leads the major leagues.

The problem has been the offense. The big hitters are not hitting. Leadoff man Alfonso Soriano hit just two homers in June, with his last coming June 7, and his on-base percentage is .296. Right fielder Milton Bradley, signed to a three-year, $30 million deal over the winter, hasn't homered since May 25, and he has been benched for the final two games in Pittsburgh.

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and catcher Geovany Soto also have underperformed at the plate. On the bright side, the Cubs should get injured third baseman Aramis Ramirez back by as early as next Monday. Beginning Thursday, the Cubs play 11 in a row at home before the All-Star break.

PIRATES 3, CUBS 0: The Cubs managed just six hits as they were shut out for the eighth time this season. Chicago was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Lilly committed an error, leading to an unearned run. He pitched seven innings, giving up eight hits and three runs, two earned.

NOTES ... ROSTER REPORT

--Bradley did not start Tuesday, and he is supposed to be out of the starting lineup again Wednesday to work on his left-handed swing. He singled as a pinch hitter and remained in the game in center field. Bradley is batting .242 with five homers and 17 RBIs.

--3B Josh Vitters, the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2007, has been promoted from low Class A Peoria to high Class A Daytona. Vitters, 19, batted .316 with 15 homers and 46 RBIs at Peoria. He had seven walks and 42 strikeouts, suggesting a continued need to improve plate discipline.

--RHP Jeff Samardzija was recalled from Class AAA Iowa as the Cubs optioned RHP Jose Ascanio to Iowa. Samardzija was with the Cubs from April 23 to May 6 this year. He'll work out of the bullpen after starting 12 of 13 games at Iowa and going 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA. Samardzija worked a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday against the Pirates.

--Ramirez (dislocated left shoulder) will begin a rehab stint Friday for the Cubs' Class A Peoria club. Ramirez could return to the Cubs on Monday. He is in Pittsburgh with the Cubs, working out and taking batting practice.

--Soto was the only Cub with two hits Tuesday. However, he committed a baserunning blunder, getting thrown out at third base in the seventh inning on a single to left field by Mike Fontenot. "It's a bad play, that's all I've got to say about it," Soto said.

--The Sports XChange

MINOR LEAGUES

ROUND ROCK 1, IOWA 0 (CLASS AAA)

At Round Rock, Texas, the Cubs (40-38) were held to four hits in the shutout loss and series sweep Tuesday. CF Matt Camp (2-for-3, walk) led the team with two hits and reached base three times. RHP Mitch Atkins (5-8) started and turned in his fifth straight quality start. He pitched a complete game, allowing one run and three hits in eight innings, striking out seven batters without allowing a walk.

TENNESSEE 7, HUNTSVILLE 2 (CLASS AA)

At Sevierville, Tenn., the Smokies (37-42 overall, 5-4 second half) collected 12 hits in the victory Tuesday. Five Tennessee players had two hits including 3B Marquez Smith (2-for-4), who hit his 11th home run of the season. RHP Hung-Wen Chen (4-6) started and picked up the victory, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings.

JUPITER 6, DAYTONA 4 (CLASS HIGH-A)

At Daytona Beach, the Cubs (38-35, 4-2) were held to six hits in the loss Tuesday to snap a four-game win streak. LF Jonathan Wyatt (2-for-4, double, RBI) led the team with two hits, and RF Brandon Guyer (1-for-4, RBI) tripled to extend his hit streak to eight games. He is batting .400 (26-for-65) in 17 games since joining the team from Tennessee. Top prospect Josh Vitters was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in his Florida State League debut. RHP Rafael Dolis (2-4) started and suffered the loss, allowing four runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

KANE COUNTY 4, PEORIA 3 (CLASS-A)

At Geneva, Ill., the Chiefs (39-35, 1-4) totaled eight hits in the loss Tuesday. 3B Josh Harrison (2-for-5) finished with two hits, as did C Michael Brenly (2-for-4) and LF Drew Rundle (2-for-4, double, RBI). Harrison extended his hit streak to six games and Brenly extended his streak to five games. RHP Manolin DeLeon (3-2) suffered the loss in relief, allowing the winning streak to score in the ninth inning after recording one out. RHP Angel Guzman, on a rehab assignment from Chicago, started and pitched one perfect inning, striking out two batters. RHP Marcus Hatley succeeded him in relief and tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two walks.

YAKIMA 9, BOISE 5 (CLASS LOW-A, SS)

At Boise, the Hawks (3-8) collected 10 hits in the loss Tuesday. LF Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4, double) paced the offense with two hits and drove in four runs. Boise used five pitchers with RHP Jonathan Nagel starting and tossing three innings, allowing two earned runs and five hits. RHP Josh Lansford (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing one run on one hit and two walks in one inning.

--Staff Reports

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