CHICAGO – Cubs reliever Shawn Camp had no one to blame but himself as he walked off the mound.
Camp, in his first save opportunity of the season, was one strike away from locking up a Cubs win Sunday against the Giants. But Camp hung a 2-2 slider to Giants outfielder Hunter Pence with two outs in the ninth inning, and Pence crushed it for the game-tying home run.
Manager Dale Sveum stuck with Camp to start the 10th, and the right-hander struggled again, this time surrendering the game-winning run on a balk with one out and runners on the corners. In 1 2/3 innings, Camp gave up four runs in the Cubs’ 10-7 loss in 10 innings.
“I’ve made that pitch 1,000 times in my career and it was just a hanging breaking ball and [Pence] hits hanging breaking balls,” Camp said. “In that situation, it just can’t happen. It’s unacceptable. It cost us the game.”
Rizzo slumping: First baseman Anthony Rizzo’s 2012 season was supposed to be the precursor to a great offensive performance in 2013.
That hasn’t been the case. Rizzo is hitting .163 through the Cubs’ first 12 games, and he has especially struggled in his past six games going 3 for 22 (.136) with 10 strikeouts. Sveum believes Rizzo’s problems partially stem from a failure to capitalize on fastballs in the strike zone. He went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts and a double Sunday against the Giants.
“The objective of the pitcher is to throw a first-pitch strike so if it’s there I’m going to hit it,” Rizzo said. “If it’s not the pitch or the location, or if I don’t recognize it, I’ll lay off it. That’s just how it goes right now.
Rizzo does have three home runs this season, all of which he’s hit on the first pitch of the at-bat.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first pitch or pitch 10,” Rizzo said. “I’m just trying to put the ball in play and hit it hard.”
Roster moves: The pain was so bad catcher Steve Clevenger dropped to the dirt.
An MRI confirmed Clevenger strained his left oblique on the final swing of Saturday’s game. Clevenger said it felt like someone stabbed him with a knife when he suffered the injury and had difficulty breathing. He’s expected to be sidelined about six weeks. The Cubs placed Clevenger on the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
The Cubs claimed right-hander Kameron Loe off waivers from the Mariners and added him to their 40-man roster. He’s expected to join the team Tuesday. Reliever Rafael Dolis was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after Sunday’s game to make room for Loe.
Loe, 31, is 15-18 with three saves and a 3.81 ERA in 213 appearances since becoming a full-time reliever with the Rangers in 2008. In four games with Seattle this season, Loe went 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA (eight runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings).
The Cubs also signed right-hander Kevin Gregg to a minor league deal. He will report to Mesa, Ariz., for extended spring training. Gregg, 34, spent time in the Dodgers’ camp during spring. He pitched for the Cubs in 2009, posting a 5-6 record with a 4.72 ERA and 23 saves (seven blown saves). During the previous two seasons Gregg was with the Orioles before getting released in September.