Rough day at the park for Cubs

Rough day at the park for Cubs

CHICAGO -- It won't be a great birthday celebration for Dusty Baker on Wednesday.

"My record hasn't been too good on my birthday," said the Chicago Cubs manager, who now is 56. "It's 2-11, or something like that. I'm thinking about changing my birthday to November or something like that."

The Cubs won last year on his birthday, beating the Houston Astros, 4-2. This year wasn't as nice. The Florida Marlins spoiled Baker's party, romping the Cubs, 15-5, on Wednesday behind a 20-hit attack. Carlos Delgado and Luis Castillo each belted three-run homers, and Miguel Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion each hit two-run shots to power the Marlins and take the series.

The Cubs did collect 12 hits, the 14th time in the last 19 games they've pounded at least 10 off opposing pitchers. Chicago is 12-2 in that stretch. On Tuesday, the Cubs won, 14-0. Wednesday was a complete reversal.

"It's been a crazy series," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said.

"It's not very fun to sit out there and know you don't have a chance in the sixth inning," Chicago's Todd Walker said. "They swung the bats well today and got the ball up in the air a couple times. We, on the other hand, didn't. You take it one day at a time. That's how quickly things can change."

Cubs starter Greg Maddux (5-4) was chased after 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing since he went 3 2/3 innings against Pittsburgh on April 12, 2004, which was his first game back at Wrigley Field with the Cubs. On Wednesday, he gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three.

"I made a lot of bad pitches that got hit hard, and I made some pretty good pitches that got hit, too," Maddux said. "Tip your hat, and try to get ready for your next game."

"It's one of the few times he didn't have his control, his location," Baker said of Maddux. "Just chalk it up. It's one of the few bad days you'll see him have."

Left-hander Rich Hill made his Major League debut for the Cubs in the sixth, and the first five batters he faced all were All-Stars. Hill, who started this season at Double-A West Tenn and was called up from Triple-A Iowa, gave up two runs on three hits but did strike out Delgado and Encarnacion.

"I threw some good pitches, a few got hit, and that's the way it is," Hill said. "Execution, that's what it comes down to."

The 24-year-old lefty admitted to being a little nervous while warming up.

"I think I was a little more revved up in the bullpen than I was on the field," he said. "Everything kind of settled down when I went out there. I felt good, made pitches. There's always room for improvement.

"It's the same game that it is in Double-A and Triple-A," he said. "Just take it for what it is."

"He did pretty good," Baker said of Hill. "This is the kind of game you want to get him in. I'm sure he'll be better, too."

The Cubs didn't go quietly, scoring five runs in the seventh on RBI singles by Michael Barrett and Corey Patterson and a three-run homer by Jeromy Burnitz.

"It's the hitters' time of year right here," Baker said.

The Cubs can only hope they pack their hitting gear for the weekend Interleague series against New York at Yankee Stadium.

"It's a lot like playing here, and there's a lot of history there," Walker said. "In my mind, I was just trying to go deep and say I hit a home run in Yankee Stadium and sometimes that takes you away from your game.

"We're doing well," Walker said. "We lost today but overall the last couple weeks have been good for us. It's a good time for us to face a great team like the Yankees."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.