Pittsburgh Pirates' Chris Snyder left, slides into home plate safely as Chicago Cubs catcher Koyie Hill tries to apply the tag in the third inning Tuesday.
Bruce Miles' game tracker
Pirates 14, Cubs 7
Streak snapped: Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had his four-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since July 30. The 3-inning performance was his shortest of the year. He fell to 12-9 with a 3.71 ERA.
Cure-all Cubs: Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (3-10) had not won since June 19, going 0-8 in his previous 11 starts. He worked 6 innings against the Cubs.
Starring Starlin: Cubs shortstop Starlin was 2-for-4, raising his average to .315. He has hit safely in his last three games and in eight of 10.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was in Albuquerque on Tuesday, and it wasn't only to watch the Cubs' Class AAA Iowa team as they try to make the playoffs.
Hendry also was there to talk with Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg about the Cubs' managerial job.
While that was going on, Mike Quade was leading the Cubs, who fell 14-7 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hendry may have a tough decision to make. Sandberg has not been shy about saying he's ready to manage in the big leagues as he completes his fourth year as a minor-league manager in the Cubs' system.
Quade took over last week for Lou Piniella, who resigned to take care of his elderly mother. By all accounts in the clubhouse, Quade has been met with a positive reception by the players.
It's unknown whether Sandberg would accept a major-league coaching job instead of the manager's position even if Hendry tries to sell him on that option.
Hendry last week traveled to Cleveland to meet with former Indians manager Eric Wedge.
In Tuesday's game, Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster gave up 4 runs in the first inning and was gone after the third, with the Pirates up 7-0.
"It wasn't a good job, a good performance by me," said Dempster, who fell to 12-9. "We should have won that game. We score 7 runs, but it's hard when your starting pitcher, being me, puts you in a hole 7-0."
That aside, Dempster said he has enjoyed playing for Quade, who is 5-3 as manager.
"He's been great," Dempster said. "He's been great with all of us. A lot of communication and a lot of positive things coming out of every game.
"Even with our losses and our tough times, he's been very supportive, and it's been a lot of fun."
Castro qualifies: Shortstop Starlin Castro entered Tuesday with a enough plate appearances to qualify for the National League leaderboard for the first time this year.
His .313 batting average placed him fifth behind Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and Martin Prado.
No rush to first: Outfielder Tyler Colvin continues to take groundballs at first base, but game action isn't in the immediate picture.
"We just keep doing it," Mike Quade said. "I work a couple days ahead. I don't see it in the Mets series (this weekend). I'm moving guys around. We're rotating four guys in the outfield, trying to get guys in. Everybody's playing and playing well.
"Any flexibility we have will help my ideal of trying to keep everybody involved. So from my standpoint, it'll be great to pull the trigger on that, but I'm still more concerned about him being comfortable over there and trying to give him a heads-up before we do that."
Fall in the air: The Cubs will send four pitchers and three position players to the Arizona Fall League.
The pitchers are David Cales, Chris Carpenter, Jake Muyco and Kyle Smit. The position players are infielders Josh Vitters and Ryan Flaherty and center fielder Brett Jackson.
Vitters has been out since late July with a broken left hand, the result of a pitched ball. Farm director Oneri Fleita said Vitters is healthy now and that he would start taking groundballs this week and would begin to hit next week.