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Despite Loss, Cubs Now Atop NL Central

Perhaps it’s a reflection of the sorry state of the NL Central division to start the 2011 season, but the 9-9 Cubs are now tied for first atop the division, despite splitting their day-night doubleheader against San Diego.

After winning the first game in twelve innings, the Cubs turned to spot starter James Russell to try to sweep the Padres. Unfortunately, Russell managed to only go four innings, giving up three home runs in the process. After the score was 4-0 he was pulled for the bullpen.

The Cubs had a parade of base hits in the fifth inning to pull within 4-2. Alfonso Soriano hit a two run homer in the eighth inning to pull the Cubs within one, but they just couldn’t get over the hump. Heath Bell closed out the game and grabbed his fifth save of the season.

Thursday brings a much needed off-day for the team, and then the weekend starts a home series against the Dodges with a first pitch at 1:20 P.M. on Friday the 22nd.