Slippery Slope

The Chicago Cubs haven't lost three games in a row since the final week of the 2007 regular season.

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Despite owning the NL's best record, the Cubs look to avoid that from happening as they conclude a four-game road series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -122 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago +112 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

On day after falling 3-0 at the hands of Los Angeles' starter Hiroki Kuroda, Chicago (39-24) was done in by a five-run Dodger seventh inning in falling 7-3 Saturday - its third loss in four contests since winning a season-high nine in a row. The Cubs, who are 13-16 on the road, haven't lost three straight since being swept at Florida from Sept. 25-27.

"We're playing pretty good, but we have to pick it up on the road," Chicago's Aramis Ramirez told the team's official Web site. "We'll be all right."

Staff ace Carlos Zambrano allowed all seven runs,and Chicago suffered a pair of defensive breakdowns in the deciding seventh that was highlighted by Matt Kemp's three-run homer.

"Sometimes you get into these things where nothing goes right and everything goes right for the opposing team," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "It happens. It's happened to us."

Alfonso Soriano homered for one of Chicago's six hits after recording just four Friday night. Despite leading the NL with 349 runs, the Cubs have totaled only nine combined in their last four contests after scoring almost six per game during their winning streak.

Soriano has hit safely in five games with two homers and four RBIs during that span, but is just 1-for-7 lifetime versus Los Angeles' scheduled starter Brad Penny.

After winning 16 games each of the last two seasons and starting strong in 2008, Penny (5-7, 5.45 ERA) looks to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat. He allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 3-0 loss to Colorado on Tuesday to fall to 0-5 with an 8.29 ERA in his last six starts after going 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA in his first seven.

"I thought he was a lot more aggressive (against Colorado)," manager Joe Torre told the Dodgers' official Web site. "I thought he was a lot more consistent tonight than I've seen him in a while."

The right-hander has won his last two starts versus Chicago and is 3-2 with a 2.42 ERA lifetime against the Cubs.

Russell Martin had a homer, three hits and also drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who won consecutive games for the first time since sweeping a three-game set from Cincinnati on May 19-21. Los Angeles is 5-11 since that series.

"I think we're starting to get a little fire under us, starting to come alive a little bit," said Los Angeles' Jeff Kent, who had two hits Saturday and is 8-for-15 against the Cubs in 2008. "We've still got a long way to go, but we're getting there. We've been struggling the past two weeks, but we have a good team and we know how to get out of it.''

Kent is 8-for-19 with three doubles lifetime against Cubs starter Jason Marquis (3-3, 5.02). The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of a 9-6 win at San Diego on Tuesday.

Marquis is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in seven career starts versus Los Angeles.

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