Slumping Cubs ready for day off after striking out 10 times in 11-1 loss to Blue Jays


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TORONTO — The stumbling Chicago Cubs are getting a day off at just the right time.

Drew Hutchison matched his career-high with 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings, Dioner Navarro had two hits and two RBIs and the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs, routing Chicago 11-1 on Wednesday night.

That wasn't quite the response manager Rick Renteria was looking for after holding a team meeting following Tuesday's 9-2 defeat.

"The last two games, obviously, haven't been our best," Renteria said.

Jorge Soler's seventh-inning homer provided the only run for the Cubs, who matched a season-worst with their sixth straight loss. Chicago has been outscored 48-10 during its skid.

The Cubs also lost six straight in early July after trading Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.

"I would love to say I could explain to you exactly what's been going on over the last six days, but I want to say stuff just happens," Renteria said.

At 64-82, the Cubs are ensured of a fifth straight losing season. It is the first time they have had five consecutive seasons below .500 since six straight from 1978-83.

"We've hit a skid lately," Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said. "We've got to do something to get out of it."

Maybe a day away from the ballpark will help. The Cubs will get a day off in Pittsburgh Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday.

"As a team, we've just got to get away from being at the field, the everyday routines, just take a day to relax and come back ready to go," Hendricks said.

Jose Bautista went 0 for 2 with two walks, snapping his hitting streak at 13 games, but the Blue Jays improved to 7-2 in September.

Javier Baez drew a one-out walk in the first and had rounded third on Luis Valbuena's double when he saw the stop sign from third base coach Gary Jones. Baez tried to retreat but was thrown out at third by Navarro.

Chicago didn't get another runner until Chris Coghlan's two-out double in the sixth snapped a streak of 15 consecutive outs.

Leading 1-0 on Anthony Gose's sacrifice fly, Toronto chased Hendricks with a three-run sixth. Hendricks (6-2) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings to lose for the first time since July 27 against St. Louis. "Kyle probably deserved a better fate," Renteria said.

The Blue Jays added five more in the seventh against a trio of relievers, and Canadian rookie Dalton Pompey made it 10-1 with a groundout in the eighth, his first career RBI.


Soler's homer off Hutchison snapped an eight-game drought for the rookie outfielder, who last connected Aug. 29 against St. Louis, when he homered twice. Soler's shot was the first home run allowed by a Blue Jays starting pitcher in 68 innings.


After batting practice, the Blue Jays returned to their clubhouse and cavorted with a baby lion and a baby tiger, with several players taking photos with the animals and posting them on social media. Bautista posed holding the tiger in his hands, while Edwin Encarnacion sat on a clubhouse couch with the tiger on his lap. "I got videos, pictures," Navarro said. "My kids are pretty jealous."


Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) took batting practice on the field for the first time since being injured on Aug. 26. He homered into the center field seats on his final swing.


Cubs: LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (4-2) faces Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (8-5) Friday. Wada pitched against Pittsburgh in his most recent start, Sept. 5 at Wrigley Field, but left after 3 1-3 innings with a sore left calf.

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