CHICAGO -- Alfonso Soriano was glad he finally hit his first home run. And he wasted no time hitting his second.
Soriano tied Tuesday's game at 6 with a leadoff homer in the ninth against the Cardinals, who won, 7-6, in the bottom of the frame.
He went yard again Wednesday, this time hitting a two-run shot off Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick for the Cubs' only runs in a 9-2 loss.
"I feel good," Soriano said before Wednesday's game. "Now I can be more relaxed [when I go] to home plate and try to do my thing."
The Cubs left fielder had gone 119 at-bats without a homer, the third longest stretch in his career. Was he worried at all?
"Yeah, I was a little worried because I think the team needs my offense a lot, because we have a lot of young guys on our team," he said. "Now I want to try to start a new season. I want to forget my last six weeks and now try to start again and try to put up some better numbers to help the team win."
Marmol, Clevenger progressing in rehab stints
CHICAGO -- Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol was able to play catch Wednesday, and catcher Steve Clevenger swung a bat for the first time since going on the disabled list.
Marmol has been on the disabled list since May 12 with a strained right hamstring. He said it's the first time he's experienced that kind of injury. The good news for Marmol is that the MRI he had showed the injury wasn't severe. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said the right-hander could be ready in 10 days.
"I should be ready to go," Marmol said. "The way I've been working, I think I'll be fine."
Clevenger has been sidelined since April 26 with a strained right oblique, and on Wednesday took 15 swings off a batting tee and another 15 swings on the side.
"It went good and felt good," Clevenger said.
Both he and Marmol have had enough of the athletic trainer's room.
"I've never really been on the DL before in my career," Clevenger said. "I'm bored. I don't like being in the trainer's room."
Clevenger is ahead of schedule and could be activated as early as May 25.
"It was supposed to be a four- to six-week injury," he said. "I'm coming along good and keep progressing every day."
Sveum keeps perspective in face of defeats
CHICAGO -- Dale Sveum never seems to get rattled after losses.
"I think my personality allows me not to take it home with me," the Cubs' manager said Wednesday.
He'll go over the game in his head, reviewing what decisions he made. Thinking about Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals, Sveum said St. Louis won on a ground ball that got through a hole. It also could've been hit at someone.
"I've been around long enough to understand that's the game," he said. "It's baseball, and sometimes it is a game of inches. As long as you know your team has given everything they've got and the preparation is there with the coaching staff -- you know somebody is going to lose that night, put it that way. When you lose, you dwell on it for a little while and maybe shoulda, woulda, coulda's, but I don't take it home with me. It'll drive you crazy."
He can handle any criticism he's dealt.
"I've been criticized as a player," Sveum said. "I wasn't very good."
The Cubs placed right-handed reliever Lendy Castillo on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and recalled left-handed reliever Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa.
Castillo, a Rule 5 Draft pick who has appeared in seven games, is bothered by a strained left groin. He apparently felt it Sunday while running, and it was still tender on Tuesday.
Maine was recalled for the second time this season and gives the Cubs a second left-hander in the bullpen. In 10 games with Iowa, he had two saves in three opportunities and a 5.25 ERA, giving up seven earned runs over 12 innings. In five games with the big league team in April, he gave up one earned run on one hit over 5 2/3 innings.
Wrigley Field will host an international friendly match between Italy's AS Roma and Poland's Zaglebie Lubin on July 22 at 2:30 p.m. CT. It will be the first soccer game at Wrigley since 1984, when the Chicago Sting beat the Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1. The match kicks off the first leg of AS Roma's U.S. tour. Tickets for the first-ever matchup between these two European soccer clubs go on sale May 24 at 10 a.m. CT at www.cubs.com/soccer. Tickets range from $25 to $110 (tax included), with the majority of seats listed at $50 or less.
Infielder Blake DeWitt, who was designated for assignment on May 6 for the second time this year by the Cubs, has been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. However, DeWitt still has to decide whether to accept the assignment. DeWitt was batting .138 in 18 games.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.