Winless against Volquez during his career, the Cubs hope to change that while looking for their fifth win in six games Tuesday night against the visiting Padres.
“These guys are major league players and somebody’s got to hit at the bottom of the order,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
The Cubs (10-15) have won five of seven and their pitchers have allowed three or fewer runs in six of those contests. Their bullpen has a 1.39 ERA in 12 games after posting a 6.06 ERA in the first 13.
“For whatever reason, the guys are getting the job done and getting the big outs with whomever I bring out at the time,” manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs’ 85 runs are still among the fewest in the majors, but they received some timely hitting Monday. Scott Hairston and Ransom hit back-to-back homers in the second inning, and Ransom drove home the go-ahead run in the sixth. Barney followed with his second two-out RBI double of the night.
Ransom was San Diego’s opening-day third baseman, but the team designated him for assignment after he started 0 for 11. He’s 6 for 13 with two homers and three RBIs in four games since Chicago claimed him off waivers.
The Cubs have won four in a row and six of seven at home against the Padres (9-16), but Volquez (1-3, 6.39 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts against them. The right-hander has not faced Chicago since 2011 with Cincinnati, but is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts at Wrigley Field.
Volquez yielded 17 runs in 12 1-3 inning to lose his first three starts, but allowed two over 13 frames of the last two. He scattered five hits without a walk in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“We’ve seen the good in the year and a month that he (Volquez) has been here,” Black told the Padres’ official website. “No doubt he struggled in a couple of his five starts this season. I thought he pitched well. Last week in San Francisco (two runs allowed in six innings of a 3-2 loss) this was a carryover and obviously a much better performance.”
Chicago counters with Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.76), who tries for a sixth time to earn his first win as a Cub.
The right-hander allowed three runs in six innings but continued to struggle with his control and walked four during a 4-3 win at Miami on Thursday. His 15 walks and 17.5 pitches per inning both rank among the highest in the majors.
Jackson is 0-3 with a 3.99 ERA in six starts versus San Diego.
Everth Cabrera had three hits Monday for the Padres, who had their four-game winning streak end.
The San Diego shortstop is 10 for 18 (.556) with three doubles in the last five road games. He’s batting .429 (9 for 21) in five at Wrigley.