Derrick Lee’s return to the lineup couldn’t help the Chicago Cubs end their struggles against San Diego.
Lee tries again to help the Cubs reverse their fortunes against the Padres as the teams continue their three-game series at Petco Park.
Lee started for the first time since suffering neck spasms on May 13, but went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in Chicago’s 5-1, series-opening loss on Tuesday. The Cubs, who went 0-7 against the Padres last season, have lost five straight at Petco Park and nine of the last 10 overall between the teams.
Chicago, which has dropped four of its last six overall, has been outscored 22-8 during its losing streak in San Diego.
Lee made pinch-hit appearances in the previous two games, and connected for a grand slam in Saturday’s win over the White Sox. He moved back into the No. 3 spot in Chicago’s lineup on Tuesday, allowing Alfonso Soriano to once again bat leadoff.
“It’s good to be back,” Lee said. “I was pain-free. That was good. Hopefully, I’ll swing the bat better tomorrow.”
Soriano went 5-for-28 (.179) with one double, one triple and one RBI as the No. 3 batter in Lee’s absence. He drew three walks at the top of the order Tuesday, but went 0-for-2.
“The only reason we moved him to the three hole was because Derrek Lee got hurt,” manager Lou Piniella said. “If that wouldn’t have happened, we wouldn’t have made a move.”
The Padres (25-20), meanwhile, won for the sixth time in eight games and remained one-half game behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Mike Cameron homered twice, and Kevin Kouzmanoff and Adrian Gonzalez also connected as San Diego hit four homers at Petco Park for just the fifth time since it opened in 2004.
Cameron is hitting .293 with 12 RBIs in May after batting .192 and driving in four runs last month. Kouzmanoff is 8-for-16 with six RBIs during a five-game hitting streak that has boosted his average 52 points to .189.
“It’s a good sign for this ballclub to add another two bats in there and put some sock in it,” Cameron said.
San Diego will hand the ball to veteran David Wells on Wednesday.
Wells (1-2, 5.40 ERA) went a season-high eight innings in his last start on May 15, allowing a season-low one run in San Diego’s 12-inning, 2-1 loss to Cincinnati. The left-hander, who turned 44 on Sunday, had allowed 17 runs in 21 innings in his previous four starts.
Wells has not pitched in more than a week because of off days in San Diego’s schedule. He is 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs, but has not faced them since 2004.
The Cubs will counter with Sean Marshall, who was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday and will make his season debut. He went 6-9 with a 5.59 ERA in 24 starts for Chicago last season, but pitched only one inning in spring training while rehabilitating a left shoulder injury and began the season in the minors.
Marshall went 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in five combined appearances with Class-A Daytona and Iowa. He is taking the rotation spot of Angel Guzman, who is moving to the bullpen after experiencing hamstring cramps that made it difficult for him to pitch deep into games.
“I hope I can stay for the rest of the season, stay for 10 years, 15 years and have a nice long career,” Marshall told the Cubs’ official Web site. “Let’s start it right now.”
Marshall gave up one run in six innings in the Cubs’ 10-inning, 2-1 loss at San Diego on May 6 in his only previous appearance against the Padres.