This is the kind of game a team needs to bounce back from a three-game losing streak. Blowout wins are always fun, but is there anything as exhilarating as a come from behind victory? And it came largely courtesy of the Cubs sloppy infield defense, whose three errors allowed the Padres to score three unearned runs.
James Shields cruised through the first two innings, retiring six batters in a row while striking out four. He got stung badly in the third inning, giving up solo home runs to Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan. That was all the Cubs could get out of Shields, though, as he returned to shutdown form afterwards, allowing just six hits in seven innings while striking out eleven.
The Padres started clawing their way back when Kris Bryant airmailed a throw to first in the fifth inning, allowing Justin Upton to cruise into second. Yangervis Solarte squeaked a single into right field to bring Upton home. Two innings later, Matt Kemp got to first when Starlin Castro booted a grounder. Hamel struck out Upton, and then Kemp was forced out at second while Solarte reached on a fielder's choice. That should have been the third out of the inning, but the Cubs mistakes kept coming. Solarte took second on a wild pitch, and then Will Venable came through with a single up the middle to knot the game at two each.
Joaquin Benoit breezed through the top of the eighth, and then it was time for more Cubs "defense." This time it was second baseman Addison Russel's turn to blow it, dropping Clint Barmes pinch hit pop-up to start the inning. Abraham Almonte put him in scoring position when he dropped a perfect bunt for a single. Cory Spangenberg followed up with a sacrifice bunt to put the go-ahead run 90 feet from home. And then Derek Norris came through big-time. The hot-hitting catcher knocked a line drive to left for his fifteenth double of the season. That put the Padres up by two with Craig Kimbrel waiting in the wings. Kimbrel struck out his first two batters, but got dinged for a homer by Chris Coghlan. He brushed it off and retired our old friend Mike Baxter to wrap up the 4-3 victory.
Tyson Ross will take the mound at 7:10 PM tomorrow to try to clinch a series win.
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