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Cubs hint at better days despite 4-0 loss to Rays

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 9, 2014 at 8:06 pm •  Published: August 9, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs at least are sprinkling hints of better days to come even though they keep piling up losses.

Never mind that they fell 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday and got shut down by Jake Odorizzi, there were a few good signs.

Javier Baez fought off nine pitches before driving a double in an otherwise rough game for him, and Arismendy Alcantara made several sparkling plays in center field.

"Things are definitely headed in a positive direction," Cubs starter Edwin Jackson said.

Odorizzi struck out nine in six scoreless innings and combined with two relievers on a five-hitter for Tampa Bay.

Evan Longoria drove in a run and scored two. Yunel Escobar added two hits and three RBIs. Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored twice for the Rays, who improved to a major league-best 15-6 since July 12. They will try to complete the three-game sweep on Sunday.

Odorizzi (8-9) gave up three hits and didn't walk anyone. The right-hander came within two strikeouts of his career high after getting hit hard in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

Jackson (6-12) allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits in six innings. He is 1-5 in his past nine starts.

Baez had a tough day overall, going 1 for 4 and committing his first error.

"He wants to prove to the whole world that he belongs here," manager Rick Renteria said. "That's part of the conversations — 'You don't have to carry the team on your back. You just have to be yourself. You have a lot of teammates.'"

Baez had three strikeouts after whiffing four times Friday in his Wrigley Field debut.

The second baseman's error came when he dropped a throw from Luis Valbuena after the third baseman made a diving stop on a ball hit by Longoria with a runner on first in the sixth inning.

Jackson then walked Matt Joyce to load the bases, and Escobar made it 4-0 with a two-run single.

The Rays also scored two in the fourth when Longoria doubled in a run and came around on Escobar's base hit.

Kirby Yates pitched two perfect innings, striking out three. Jake McGee then gave up two hits but struck out three in a scoreless ninth.

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