Although an unexpected outburst helped end their losing streak, the Chicago Cubs have been plagued by their inconsistency at the plate in key situations.
They might continue to scuffle against a former Cub who has pitched well at home for the San Diego Padres .
Andrew Cashner looks to hold an opponent to two earned runs or less for a sixth straight home start while dealing Chicago its 11th loss in 14 games Sunday.
Following a 3-for-19 stretch, Darwin Barney broke out with three hits - including his first home run since July 14 - and two RBIs to help the NL Central-worst Cubs (55-74) snap a four-game skid with Saturday's 3-2 victory."Tip my hat to Barney for giving me those two runs," said Jeff Samardzija , who has Chicago's two wins over the past eight games.
While the Padres (58-71) went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and have a .191 average in those situations since July 19, the Cubs are batting a major league-worst .180 over that span. Barney (5 for 27), Starlin Castro (3 for 31) and Anthony Rizzo (6 for 36) are among those who aren't coming through in clutch moments.
Chicago has gone 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position while scoring three runs in 17 innings in this series since a six-run first in an 8-6 loss in Friday's opener.
The Cubs, who snapped a five-game skid in San Diego, look to win consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 9-10 in St. Louis. They'll take on a familiar face in Cashner (8-8, 3.74 ERA), who was sent to San Diego in exchange for Rizzo in January of 2012.
Since posting a 3.79 ERA and getting 20 runs of support in three straight victories, the right-hander has a 3.32 ERA and received three total runs while losing his last three starts. He's pitched particularly well at home, however, going 2-2 with a 2.06 ERA in his last five starts there.
Cashner is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three career appearances versus the Cubs. He allowed four walks and five runs over four innings in his only start against them, a 6-2 loss at Wrigley Field on May 1.
Chicago starter Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08) has a 2.04 ERA in his last three starts, but has dropped his last two while receiving only one run of support. He yielded two runs but matched a career high by allowing 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to Washington on Tuesday.
"I couldn't find my two-seam (fastball) but I was able to find some other pitches to get me out of jams," Rusin said.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last three road starts and hasn't allowed a run there in 13 innings.
He could have his hands full with Will Venable , who is 6 for 8 with two home runs in this series. He's also batting .391 with seven homers over his last 22 games overall.
|August 08, 2013||Matt Guerrier||60-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|August 08, 2013||Thomas Neal||60-Day DL||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Thomas Neal||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right shoulder|
|August 07, 2013||Dioner Navarro||Day-to-Day||Right ankle contusion|
|August 03, 2013||Luis Valbuena||15-Day DL||Right oblique strain|
|July 15, 2013||Brian Bogusevic||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 31, 2013||Carlos Quentin||15-Day DL||Right knee strain|
|July 23, 2013||Carlos Quentin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 20, 2013||Jason Marquis||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|July 12, 2013||Kyle Blanks||15-Day DL||Left Achilles tendinitis|
|July 07, 2013||Yasmani Grandal||60-Day DL||Right knee sprain|
|June 22, 2013||Clayton Richard||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- On the field and off of it, anyone who watched the San Diego Padres outlast the Chicago Cubs on Sunday had a similar reaction.
The words might have been slightly different but the bottom line was the same.
"That was the strangest game I've seen in my life," said longtime Padres radio announcer Jerry Coleman .
San Diego finally held off the Cubs for a 3-2 win in 15 innings, a game that was scoreless until Chicago scored twice in the 13th inning, only to be matched by the Padres in the bottom half.
Coleman, a New York Yankees infielder from 1949-57, has spent many of his 88 years in baseball. Even he was scratching his head after Nick Hundley 's game-winning RBI single ended this marathon.
The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the 13th thanks in part to Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman hitting Nick Schierholtz's helmet with a throw after Schierholtz left the batter's box on what looked to be a potential bases-loaded, double play.
"I've never seen that one before," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Schierholtz said he got out of the box in an awkward manner because he tweaked his back on the swing. They he got plunked by Guzman.
"Just a nightmare of a play," said Schierholtz, who said his back and head are probably fine.
The Padres tied it when Ronny Cedeno made a daring dash to the plate on Kevin Gregg 's wild pitch after Cedeno had tripled with two outs.
"I don't think Ronny saw (the ball) immediately," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Where he is, where the ball is and where the catcher is, it's not a great view. You don't know how far the ball is going to come toward our dugout.
"He picked it up and made a decision to go. But if there was a good throw and tag, he probably would have been out."
Instead, Hundley recorded the third game-winning hit of his career and his first since he belted a home run on May 30, 2010, against Washington.
"Any time you go long like that it adds a little more, it's a special win," Hundley said. "Losing a game like this takes a little bit more out of you, and winning it builds momentum."
Black said the victory was big, even if both teams are struggling.
The Padres (59-71) are fourth in the NL West, while the last-place Cubs (55-75) have dropped 11 of 14.
"It was a fantastic win when it looked as dismal as it can look," Black said.
Logan Forsythe set up the winning hit with a one-out single against Hector Rondon (2-1). He moved up on a groundout before Alexi Amarista was intentionally walked.
Hundley then lined a clean single into center field, scoring Forsythe easily and giving San Diego its third win in four games. Dale Thayer (2-3) wiggled out of a jam in the top half to get the victory.
The game lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes, and the teams used 15 pitchers. But it wasn't even the longest game of the weekend as Arizona beat Philadelphia 12-7 in 18 innings on Saturday night.
San Diego looked poised to end the game in the 14th when it put runners on second and third with one out. But Eric Stults , batting for fellow pitcher Brad Boxberger , struck out swinging while facing a five-man infield. Chase Headley looked at a third strike to end the inning.
Chicago then wasted an opportunity to go in front. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the 15th, but Lake grounded into a fielder's choice that cut down Starlin Castro at home, and Murphy grounded out.
Cubs starter Chris Rusin allowed three hits and walked four in 6 1-3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.64. The left-hander is 0-2 in his last three starts despite a 2.00 ERA.
San Diego right-hander Andrew Cashner pitched seven innings of two-hit ball against his former team. He struck out seven and walked one.
"Cash threw the ball well," Black said. "It was a great game for Cash to continue to grow as a pitcher."
NOTES: Cubs C Welington Castillo was back in the lineup after missing three games with bruised ribs. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo will remain in the No. 2 spot in the order. Rizzo, according to Sveum, has sparked the offense the last four games. "We've scored six, four, six and three," Sveum said before Sunday's game. "I'm not changing anything." ... The Padres will start Tyson Ross on Monday when they open a two-city, six-game road trip in Arizona. ... The Padres aren't sure on their starting pitcher for Wednesday. With veteran RHP Edinson Volquez designated for assignment, the Padres are juggling their rotation and considering various options.