Maholm off his game while Cubs blanked

Maholm off his game while Cubs blanked

Maholm off his game while Cubs blanked
CHICAGO -- Expect some changes at the top of the order on Monday as Cubs manager Dale Sveum tries to jump-start the offense.

The White Sox completed a sweep of the first round of the intracity Interleague matchup on Sunday, as Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn hit back-to-back home runs to back Jake Peavy and beat the Cubs, 6-0. It was the White Sox first sweep at Wrigley Field since June 11-13, 1999.

The Cubs, who went 5-10 in Interleague Play last year, have lost six in a row to drop to a season-low 11 games under .500 at 15-26. They will have a rematch against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 18-20, and also play the Twins, Tigers and Red Sox in June.

"Hopefully, whenever we re-up the Crosstown Cup, we can sweep them at their place," Cubs starter Paul Maholm said.

Getting swept by the White Sox felt the same as getting swept by the Marlins, as far as Bryan LaHair was concerned.

"Any time you lose or get swept, it's not a good feeling," LaHair said. "Whether it's them or some other team, you don't accept that."

The Cubs were outscored, 16-6, in the three-game series against the White Sox, and mustered two runs off their starters.

Sveum said he may tweak the lineup, starting at the top, when the Cubs open a six-game road trip on Monday in Houston. David DeJesus, Tony Campana and Starlin Castro were a combined 5-for-23 on Friday and Sunday.

"I might think about changing things at the top of the order," Sveum said. "It's not that anybody is doing anything wrong, but just to change something because we aren't producing any runs that way. We might change things up there.

"We need some production," Sveum said, "and the bottom line is, two months into the season, we have to start producing or we're going to have to start making some changes."

Castro, who has hit third all season, finished the five-game homestand 3-for-18 (.167).

"If he moves me in the lineup, it doesn't matter," said Castro, who batted leadoff most of last season. "I'm ready to hit in whatever spot in the lineup. Wherever he wants to put me, I'll do my job to help the team."

Maholm (4-3) could've used some offense. The lefty took the loss, his first since April 15. He served up nine hits, including three homers, over 6 1/3 innings. It was the first time he'd given up three home runs in a game since the Nationals hit four on June 10, 2008.

"It's tough to read the ball out of his hand," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who homered off Maholm in the fifth. "He has a little cutter and slider, a little bit of deception going there across his body, short arm kind of thing. He was doing a good job, just made a couple of mistakes."

Just three, actually.

Beckham hit the first pitch from Maholm in the fourth for his fourth homer, and Dunn followed with his 14th of the season and 43rd against the Cubs five pitches later. Flowers led off the fifth with his second home run of the season, clearing the left-field bleachers. It's the first to land on Waveland Avenue this season.

Peavy (5-1) was tough. He struck out seven over 6 1/3 scoreless innings and seemed oblivious to the conditions. It's been cold and windy this season at Wrigley, but on Sunday, the game-time temperature was a sweaty 91 degrees and the wind favored the hitters, blowing out of the southwest at 12 mph.

"You know Peavy is going to be tough, he's one of the best pitchers in the league," Sveum said. "With that wind, the way it was blowing, you thought we'd have some kind of contact and get it up and at least get a solo home run or something. We had our chances a couple times with the bases loaded, and didn't do too much."

The White Sox did.

"I go out there expecting to win the game and expect to go deep in the game, and I think the biggest thing is to make sure not to put the offense in a bind early and let them get going," Maholm said. "To me, we have a lineup that can do damage. This homestand, obviously, it didn't go the way we wanted it to. I still believe the guys can get it going. My next time out, I expect them to put up some runs."

The Cubs did load the bases in the fourth and eighth innings. In the last five games, they have totaled 13 extra-base hits and scored 15 runs. In the five games before that, they collected 21 extra-base hits and scored 29 runs.

"Hopefully, through these times we're having right now, after going through a pretty good two-week stretch, now we're in a one-week stretch of no wins, and obviously getting swept by the White Sox at home is as low as you're going to get," Sveum said. "You hope the fans understand and stay patient for the rest of the year."

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