Lake's bunt ends Cubs' RISP drought

Fourth-inning hit ends skid at 31 straight at-bats

Lake's bunt ends Cubs' RISP drought

PHOENIX -- It had been a week since the Cubs got a hit with a runner in scoring position, but Junior Lake ended that in the fourth inning Friday night.

The Cubs began their game against the D-backs 0-for-27 over the last five games with RISP. The last player to deliver was Matt Szczur, who hit a walk-off RBI single in the 12th inning May 15 against the Pirates.

Asked if he remembered the last time the Cubs had come through, manager Joe Maddon quipped before the game: "Was it Spring Training?"

No, but it seemed that way. In the fourth, Jorge Soler doubled off Arizona's Jason Collmenter and moved up on a bunt single by Lake, which ended the skid at 0-for-31. Two outs later, Soler scored on Addison Russell's infield single. The Cubs lost, 5-4, in 13 innings.

"It's obviously a little bit frustrating but I believe part of it is the inexperience and youthfulness of a lot of our hitters," Maddon said. "I know we'll get better at it. If you believe in the law of averages and things starting to catch up, the game owes us a little bit. You've got to be encouraged that you can hold serve through this particular moment."

The defense has been better since Tuesday's game against the Padres when the Cubs' infield made three errors. The bullpen is in better shape, especially after Kyle Hendricks threw a complete game Thursday.

"You're not going to be clicking on all cyclinders all the time," Maddon said. "You have to get better with runners in scoring position, but we've been ready to play and playing with a lot of energy and there've been a lot of tight games and our guys have been in it until the very end."

Worth noting

• Reliever Neil Ramirez, on the disabled list since April 16 with right-shoulder inflammation, may throw a bullpen for Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio while the team is in Arizona. Ramirez has been rehabbing at the Cubs' facility in Mesa, Ariz.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.