San Diego (24-20) won all seven meetings with the Cubs last season and split two games at Wrigley Field in April to improve to 11-5 in its last 16 games against them. The Padres have won four in a row at home in the series, and last took five straight from Chicago in San Diego from July 14, 1989-April 25, 1990.
Peavy (5-1, 1.64 ERA) will look to continue his overpowering pitching as he tries to extend that win streak. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 25 strikeouts in three starts this month.
On Wednesday, Peavy gave up two runs in the first inning against Cincinnati before settling down and pitching seven innings in the Padres’ 3-2 victory. He allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked one, but didn’t receive the decision.
Peavy threw at least seven innings for the fifth straight time and seventh in nine starts this year. He’s 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs.
The Padres won their third straight series over the weekend by taking two of three from Seattle, defeating the Mariners 2-1 on Sunday. San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff went 1-for-4 and has hit in four straight games, going 7-for-13 with five RBIs in that span, while teammate Mike Cameron also was 1-for-4 and is batting .400 (10-for-25) with four RBIs during a six-game hit streak.
The Cubs (20-22) couldn’t complete a sweep of the White Sox on Sunday, falling 10-6 after another bullpen meltdown. They trailed 3-2 with two outs and the bases empty in the seventh inning, but starter Carlos Zambrano loaded the bases after retiring the first two White Sox hitters, and Neal Cotts came on and surrendered a grand slam to A.J. Pierzynski.
“It’s hard to score seven runs with two outs and nobody on,” manager Lou Piniella told the Cubs’ official Web site. “It doesn’t happen very often and it’s very rare, and it’s happened twice in a week, and it really shouldn’t.”
On Thursday, the bullpen surrendered five runs in the ninth inning of a stunning 6-5 loss to the New York Mets. Chicago relievers have allowed 14 earned runs in the last seven days—including four in Rich Hill’s last start.
Hill (4-3, 2.91), however, wasn’t at his best before the bullpen made matters worse Wednesday, giving up four runs and walking four in six innings of an 8-1 defeat to the Mets on Wednesday. The left-hander, who allowed seven hits and struck out six, has dropped three of his last four decisions.
“He’s walking people. He was not walking people earlier in the year and they are running on him,” Piniella said. “They are running on first move. We may have to go to a little bit of a slide step. He’ll get better.”
The Mets stole three bases in the game.
“I just have to get back on track out of the stretch,” said Hill, who’s pitched at least six innings in all but one of his eight starts this season.
The left-hander has made one start against the Padres, giving up three runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-0 loss at Wrigley Field on May 14, 2006.
The Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano was 1-for-4 with a triple Sunday. He’s hitting .316 (12-for-38) with two homers and three RBIs against the Padres, but is 1-for-5 with three strikeouts against Peavy.