7/3 Phew

The Cubs stranded a season-high 17 baserunners in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Reds, the most left on base since 17 on April 9, 2004, at Atlanta in a 15-inning game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 17 LOB in a nine-inning game is a Cubs franchise record since the live-ball era began in 1920.

“Every time you get guys in scoring position, you try your best to get them in,” Geovany Soto said. “Everytime you don’t do it, it’s like, ‘Here we go again.’ Trust me, we’re doing our best out there. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Luckily, today was a good day for us.”

The 17 LOB is the most this season since the Tigers stranded 18 against the Indians, April 22, 2010. The Cubs left two in the first, two in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, three in the sixth, and two in the seventh. When Alfonso Soriano blooped a single in the sixth with the bases loaded, he lifted his arms above his head in relief.

“Thank God, I put the ball in play and nobody caught it,” Soriano said. “Sometimes we hit the ball so hard, we make an out. Sometimes with a bloop, you get a hit. Finally I got the hit, and I think that was a very important hit for the team.”

Think Lou Piniella was relieved? The Cubs finally scored three in the sixth and now have scored three or fewer runs in 12 of their last 14 games.

“Three [runs] looked like 13 to me,” Piniella said.

They didn’t take batting practice prior to Saturday’s game.

“All we did was get loose and play,” said Piniella, who has suggested less is more.

Will they take batting practice on Sunday?

“I’ll talk to the hitting coach,” Piniella said.

– Carrie Muskat

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