San Diego (8-13) at Chicago (13-8)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Thu Apr 24, 2003
  • TV: FSCH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs look to get their offense back on track when they play host to the San Diego Padres in the rubber game of their series at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ batters were shut out for the first time this season on Wednesday, when the were dominated by Padres’ starter Adam Eaton, 2-0. The loss was just the third in the last 11 games for the Cubs, who had averaged seven runs per game over their previous 10.

“He pitched too good to lose,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s our first shutout this year. You’ve got to give Eaton some credit, because he threw the ball well.

“That was probably the best ballgame thrown against us this year. He made some pretty good hitters look bad.”

Eaton struck out a career-high 12 batters in the win, which was just the third road victory for the Padres this season. San Diego, which snapped a six-game losing streak with the win, has a chance to win a series for just the second time this year.

STANDINGS: Padres - 4th, 8 GB, NL West. Cubs - tied for 1st, NL Central.

PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Oliver Perez (0-2, 9.00 ERA). Perez was pounded in his last start on Friday, a 12-1 loss to Colorado. The left-hander allowed eight runs on 11 hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings, while striking out three. Perez pitched once against the Cubs in his career, allowing four runs in five innings of a no-decision.

CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Clement (2-1, 2.59 ERA). Clement is coming off an excellent start against Pittsburgh on Friday, when he posted a 7-2 win. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed just one run on two hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out 10. Clement, who came up with the Padres, is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA against his former team.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Ramon Vazquez, .288 avg.; Rondell White, 5 HRs; Ryan Klesko and White, 13 RBIs; Xavier Nady, 14 runs; Mark Kotsay, 3 SBs. Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .345 avg. and 19 runs; Sammy Sosa, 5 HRs and 20 RBIs; Moises Alou and Corey Patterson, 2 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Even, 1-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - OF Kotsay sat out Wednesday’s game with a sore back, after crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado over the weekend. He may return to the lineup on Thursday. … SS Vazquez leads NL leadoff hitters with a .475 on-base percentage. … Eaton’s previous high in strikeouts was 10. Cubs - Injured closer Antonio Alfonseca will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa on Friday. … Before they were shut out on Wednesday, the Cubs had scored at least four runs in an inning in six of seven games, and they have done it in 14 different innings this season. … Even with the loss on Wednesday, the Cubs are still far ahead of last year’s pace. Chicago didn’t win its 13th game until May 7 last season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 3-8 on the road; Cubs - 8-4 at home.

INJURIES: Padres - C Gary Bennett (knee), 15-day DL; OF Phil Nevin (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Jarvis (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Kevin Walker (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jay Witasick (forearm), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Kotsay (back), day-to-day. Cubs - RHP Alfonseca (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

O. Pérez Ari vs. M. Clement Tor
4-10 Record 14-12
5.47 ERA 4.11
141 K 171
77 BB 79
1.63 WHIP 1.23