The Cubs made amends, then lost again.
Matt Garza came off the disabled list and lasted four innings last night, but couldn't get the Cubs out of their slump. Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer and drove in four overall, and the Cincinnati Reds pulled away to an 8-2 victory that added to the visiting Cubs' misery.
Chicago has lost seven in a row, its deepest slump since it also lost that many last July 27-Aug. 3.
"We're just in a tough place right now," Garza said. "There's still 4 months of baseball to play, boys. So there's a lot of stuff to turn. Some guys are going good right now for other clubs, but they're going to hit a rough spot."
Gomes has been doing well against the Cubs. The outfielder has only two homers since April 17, both of them setting up wins over the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati is 5-1 against Chicago and 17-5 over the last two seasons.
"Again, it's a lot of the same stuff," manager Mike Quade said of his struggling offense. "We haven't been able to get the three-run homer Gomes provided for them."
Garza (2-5) came off the disabled list and lasted four innings, giving up four runs. Mike Leake (5-2) had an RBI single off the righthander, who hadn't pitched since May 17 because of a sore elbow.
Garza gave up six hits and walked three in four innings, throwing 81 pitches. His breaking ball wasn't very sharp, which wasn't surprising.
"Physically I felt fine," Garza said. "I was a little off. That's not what I wanted. I wanted to come with five or six strong [innings] and do what I usually do. I felt strong. I think it was just mainly 17 days of not facing a hitter."
Gomes singled home a run off Garza in the second inning. He connected for his eighth homer off Jeff Samardzija, making it 7-2 in the fifth inning.
Before the game, Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano made amends, apologizing to Carlos Marmol. Zambrano second-guessed the closer's pitch choices after a 3-2, 10-inning loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Zambrano also said after Sunday's loss that the Cubs were embarrassing and playing like a Triple A team.
"What I said yesterday was [in] a moment of frustration," Zambrano said. "I apologized to Marmol. Let's move on."
Marmol accepted his apology.
"Any negative stuff is gone for me," Marmol said. "We have to move on. It doesn't bother me. He apologized to me and we're fine."
In another game:
* At Miami, Prince Fielder homered and drove in four runs to help the Milwaukee Brewers complete their first four-game sweep since August 2008 by beating the Florida Marlins, 7-2.
Zack Greinke (5-1) allowed two runs in seven innings. He won his fifth consecutive decision and lowered his ERA to 4.83.
It was a bad day for the Marlins, who lost a season-worst fifth game in a row and lost All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who went on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career because of a strained back. Ace Josh Johnson has been on the disabled list since May 21 with right shoulder inflammation.
"It's very frustrating, because those are the guys we built the team around," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "There's a hole in the rotation and in the lineup."
It's unknown how long Ramirez and Johnson will remain sidelined. Ramirez hasn't played since May 29, and while he said he felt better yesterday, he's not expected to resume any baseball activities for at least 2 or 3 days.