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Bradley frustrated by at-bats, gaffe

Bradley frustrated by at-bats, gaffe

ST. LOUIS -- Milton Bradley suffered a brain cramp Wednesday night that most likely would not have happened if he wasn't trying so hard to make up for his awful at-bats.

Bradley, who batted .321 last season, is scuffling to hit .193. He's not the only one in the Cubs' lineup who was shut down in the St. Louis Cardinals' 2-1 win over the Cubs. But he was the only one who made a mental lapse on the basepaths.

"What we just have to do is stay professional," Bradley said of the Cubs. "You have to look in the mirror and say, 'Whatever I can do to help this ballclub win, that's what I'm going to do.'

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"You've just got to take all selfishness out of it and sacrifice whatever you can do for the team and try to win. It's not fun playing ball like this. By the time you come into the dugout out of the outfield to sit down, you haven't even stopped sweating and you're running back out there again, you're making outs so quick.

"I'm the main culprit. I've had terrible at-bats. I'm just not doing anything, not even hitting the ball out of the infield. It's frustrating. We're having mental lapses out there and just completely getting outplayed."

Bradley's blunder came in the fourth. He drew a leadoff walk against St. Louis' Chris Carpenter, and took off for second as Mike Fontenot made contact, lofting the ball to left. But left fielder Chris Duncan caught it, and Bradley was unable to get back to first in time. He was doubled off.

"You know what happens when you're not scoring runs?" said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team has been held to one run in two games by the Cardinals. "Invariably, people try to overdo, and it leads to mistakes. That happens a lot -- not here -- but it happens to a lot of teams."

What happened?

"I'm running on 3-1, running, stealing the base, I don't peek in, I don't pick up the coach, I don't pick up the ball, I get doubled off," Bradley said. "That's just inexcusable. I don't like making mistakes. I'm a perfectionist.

"When you're not swinging the bat, you can't make baserunning errors, you can't make defensive errors. You have to be on point, and we're just not on point."

Bradley isn't alone as far as having problems at the plate. Piniella was obviously peeved at the lack of offense the last two games, but Derrek Lee found some positives and acknowledged the Cubs have had to face two pretty good pitchers in Carpenter and Joel Pineiro.

"We're doing OK," Lee said. "I don't think it's the end of the world. We're not playing that bad. These two games, obviously, are not good, but we went 5-1 on the homestand. I think we're going to be OK."

Bradley need only look at St. Louis' Albert Pujols to find an example of what he wants to do.

"Every time I see Albert Pujols, he does something extra, whether it's taking an extra base or stealing a base or just doing something, he's always doing something extra," Bradley said. "That's why he's Albert Pujols. We have to find somebody who can do something extra."

Right now, Piniella will take guys who do things right. Bradley was told the Cubs manager was losing sleep the last few nights.

"He ain't the only one," Bradley said. "It's not a lot of fun, it's not a lot of fun."

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

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