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Chicago Cubs waste 6 scoreless innings from Steele, lose to Tampa Bay Rays 3-2

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Taj Bradley tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Thursday night.

Bradley (2-4) gave up two unearned runs and three hits.

After starter Justin Steele pitched six scoreless innings for the Cubs, the Rays scored three times in the seventh off Mark Leiter Jr. (2-4). Pinch-hitter Josh Lowe had an RBI single and pinch-hitter Ben Rortvedt drove in a run on a groundout before Yandy Díaz made it 3-2 with another RBI single.

Tampa Bay took two of three in the series and is 8-14 over the last 22 games. Meanwhile, the Cubs have lost 14 of 20.

Chicago used three consecutive bunts to take a 2-0 lead in the fifth.

Patrick Wisdom's sacrifice moved runners to second and third. One run came home when catcher Alex Jackson was charged with an error for dropping a throw from third baseman Isaac Paredes on Pete Crow-Armstrong's bunt. Yan Gomes then picked up an RBI with a sacrifice bunt.

The Cubs entered with four sacrifice bunts on the season. It was Gomes' fourth in 1,116 games.

Steele allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five. The lefty has a 3.22 ERA but is winless in eight starts since coming back from a strained left hamstring.

The 28-year-old Steele went 16-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 30 starts last season and made the NL All-Star team for the first time.


Cubs: Relief pitcher Yency Almonte (right shoulder strain) will throw to hitters on Friday.

Rays: LF Randy Arozarena (right hamstring tightness) was back in the lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting duty the previous two games. He went 0 for 4.


Cubs: LHP Jordan Wicks (1-2, 4.44 ERA) will start Friday against St. Louis RHP Kyle Gibson (4-2, 3.76).

Rays: RHP Zack Littell (2-4, 3.63 ERA) faces Atlanta LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 3.01) on Friday night.



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