The Chicago Cubs managed to carry their momentum from Wrigley Field and win the opener of a seven-game road trip. They’ll need to do more than just that if they want to be considered one of the best teams in the majors, though.
The surging Cubs seek their ninth straight victory and look to win their first road series since early April as they continue their three-game set against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Chicago (37-21) hung on to defeat the Padres 7-6 on Monday for their eighth straight victory—their longest since winning 12 in a row from May 19-June 2, 2001. The Cubs own the best record in the majors, and have a 3 1/2-game lead over second-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
The first seven victories of Chicago’s current winning streak came at Wrigley, where it is 26-8. The Cubs are now trying to prove they can win on the road, where they are 11-13 and play 12 of their next 15.
Chicago won for just the third time in its last eight games away from Wrigley on Monday, and has not won a road series since a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh April 7-10—its first road trip of the season.
“We need to play a little better than we have, especially from a win-loss standpoint,” manager Lou Piniella told the team’s official Web site. “We’ve executed better at home than on the road.”
The Cubs pounded out 14 hits on Monday, and are batting .312 with 43 runs scored during their winning streak.
“They are on a nice roll here,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “They are swinging the bats well. They are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Ryan Theriot went 3-for-5 with a RBI and a run in the series opener, and is batting .458 (11-for-24) with eight runs and a .552 on-base percentage during a seven-game hitting streak.
Jason Marquis (2-3, 4.98 ERA) takes the ball for Chicago on Tuesday.
Marquis allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 win over Colorado on Thursday, but was not a factor in the decision. He has just one victory in his last seven starts, and has not made it past the sixth inning in his last six outings.
Against the Padres on May 13, Marquis gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss. He is 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA in seven career starts versus San Diego, and 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA in two outings at Petco Park.
The Padres (23-36), owners of the majors’ third-worst record, lost their second straight on Monday.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to pull San Diego within one, and finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Gonzalez leads the Padres with 17 homers and the NL with 54 RBIs, and is 10-for-20 with two home runs and 10 RBIs during a five-game hitting streak.
Ledezma allowed one run, two hits and matched a career high with seven strikeouts in five innings of a 5-2 win over Washington on Thursday, but did not receive a decision. In his previous two starts, the left-hander had lasted only four innings against St. Louis on May 19 and three innings against Cincinnati on May 24.
Ledezma pitched 1 2-3 innings of relief in an 8-5 loss to the Cubs on May 14, allowing three runs and five hits.