Cubs’ offense stays cold as hot Diamondbacks close to game back in wild-card race

Geraldo Perdomo tags out Yan Gomes, who tried for a double in the ninth inning on Saturday.

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Entering their weekend series against the Diamondbacks, the Cubs (76-67) had scored 39 runs in their previous four games and the third-most runs in the majors since the All-Star break.

Since Thursday, however, there has been a chill in the air at Wrigley Field and throughout the Cubs’ lineup. They have been held to a combined four runs while dropping three consecutive games to the Diamondbacks, who are now only one game behind them for the second National League wild-card spot.

‘‘I don’t feel like we were going to roll until the end of the season without any bumps in the road,’’ manager David Ross said after the Cubs’ 3-2 loss in 10 innings Saturday. ‘‘I don’t think we’re playing bad baseball. We’re just not getting the key hit when we need it.’’

A four-pitch sequence in the 10th — with reliever Daniel Palencia battling control issues — featured as much scoring as the Cubs have managed in the last two games. A passed ball that was followed by a run-scoring wild pitch, a swinging strike and an RBI single by Tommy Pham turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 Diamondbacks lead.

‘‘At some point, it’ll obviously come through,’’ shortstop Dansby Swanson said after collecting two hits but popping out with the tying run aboard to end the game. ‘‘We’ve proven time and time again that we will bounce back. These games have been competitive. It’s not like something where we’re laying down.’’

Palencia was erratic throughout the 10th. He hit scuffling rookie Jordan Lawlar with a pitch to put the eventual second run of the inning aboard and sent an errant pickoff throw into right field. While Ross said before the game that recent additions such as Brad Boxberger would need time before they worked their way into high-leverage situations, Palencia now has walked or hit 13 of the 80 batters he has faced.

But with left-hander Justin Steele providing seven more innings of one-run ball to regain the NL ERA lead at 2.49 and relievers Julian Merryweather and Adbert Alzolay tossing scoreless innings, Palencia’s 10th represented the only crack in a Cubs pitching staff that worked without a margin for error all day.

Cody Bellinger’s two-out RBI single in the 10th was the Cubs’ only hit with runners in scoring position in nine tries. The Cubs’ only run in regulation came from Nico Hoerner sprinting all the way to score from first — after bunting his way aboard — on what should have been an inning-ending pop-up by Bellinger in the third. Instead, the ball dropped between Diamondbacks defenders on the infield dirt.

‘‘He plays hard but also smart,’’ Swanson said of Hoerner, pointing out they both know the challenge of catching pop-ups in the wind at Wrigley.

That wind has turned decidedly against the Cubs, who fell five games behind the NL Central-leading Brewers in the loss column. After clocking five home runs in a livelier version of their home park in a three-game sweep of the Giants, all Cubs contact has fallen short of the fences in the last three games.

‘‘Wrigley Field giveth and taketh away,’’ Happ said Friday, noting the conditions of the weekend.

The three losses have dented the Cubs’ odds of selling tickets to a home playoff game in the first round, but they haven’t affected the team’s view of itself.

‘‘We’re a really good team,’’ Ross said. ‘‘This group hasn’t wavered all year, and I doubt they will.’’

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