Padres 4, Cubs 3, 14 innings

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CHICAGO (AP)—Geoff Blum stepped to the plate in the 14th inning, and delivered another big hit.

This time, the stakes were a little lower. It was a regular-season game— not the World Series. And the winning shot stayed in the ballpark.

Blum doubled in the go-ahead run to lead the San Diego Padres over the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in 14 innings Tuesday.

“I knew I wasn’t going to repeat the World Series thing, not with that wind like that,” he said.

That “World Series thing” happened in 2005, when Blum hit the go-ahead solo homer in the 14th inning of Game 3 for the Chicago White Sox.

“Luckily, I just found a hole,” he said. “Right place at the right time. You wait that long and good things happen.”

Khalil Greene led off the 14th with a double to the right-field corner against Will Ohman (0-1), and with one out, Blum sent a shot to left that Jacque Jones let skip by him.

Ohman then retired Rob Bowen on a fly to center. and pinch-hitter Jake Peavy on a pop to second. But it was another rough outing for the left-hander.

He allowed a three-run homer to Marcus Giles in Monday’s 12-4 win, and he walked in two runs in a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati last week.

“It’s the law of averages,” Ohman said. “Two, three bad ones in a row— it’ll even out.”

He said Blum hit a “great pitch”—a slider down and away. Not that it lessened Ohman’s frustration.

“Would you get frustrated if you lost? It’s frustrating,” he said.

Blum’s hit made a winner of Doug Brocail (1-0), who struck out four and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. Trevor Hoffman pitched the 14th for his third save in as many chances.

Chicago’s Daryle Ward hit a bloop double to center with one out in the bottom of the 14th, but Hoffman got Jones on a flyout and struck out Ronny Cedeno.

“This team has shown a great deal of resiliency so far, early in the year, an ability to hang in there,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “The pitching keeps us close and we get some hitting at the end of the game.”

San Diego loaded the bases in the ninth but failed to score, and two big defensive plays stopped them in the 10th and 12th.

With runners on first and second in the 10th, Brian Giles singled to center off Bob Howry. Felix Pie—making his major league debut for the Cubs—charged in and his threw a strike on the fly to catcher Michael Barrett, beating Russell Branyan by a couple feet. Mike Cameron ended the threat by grounding out.

And with a runner on second in the 12th, second baseman Mark DeRosa dove to his right to snag Marcus Giles’ liner for the final out.

Adrian Gonzalez tied a career high with four hits for San Diego.

“There were some that just found some holes,” Gonzalez said. “You have to mix in some luck with games like this. Today I had two hits that were lucky.”

Greg Maddux allowed three runs and six hits in five innings in his first start against the Cubs since they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline last July. He walked one, did not strike out a batter, but was unable to protect a 3-1 lead.

That evaporated in the fifth.

Chicago’s Henry Blanco led off with a double and scored on a double to by Pie, who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa because Alfonso Soriano has a strained left hamstring. Pie scored on Derrek Lee’s single.

Until then, Wade Miller appeared headed to his second loss. He struggled through five innings, allowing six hits and four walks after getting hit hard by Milwaukee in his first start.

Chicago’s Aramis Ramirez started at third after missing four games with tendinitis in his right wrist and delivered an RBI triple off the right-field wall in the first inning. But while one star returned, another was missing.

Soriano expects to sit out about a week after straining his left hamstring while attempting a diving catch during the fifth inning on Monday.

The Cubs mulled putting the five-time All-Star on the 15-day disabled list, even though an MRI exam on Tuesday revealed no major structural damage. Instead, they optioned right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman to Triple-A before the game and called up Pie, a top prospect who batted leadoff.

“I talked to the trainer, and … I said, ‘I feel great. I think I’ll be ready before two weeks,”’ said Soriano, who might hit in the batting cage on Wednesday.


Gonzalez has five four-hit games. … Padres relievers are 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA. … Lee found himself in an unusual spot in the final inning. He was in the dugout after a double switch. “We only had one pitcher left, and the pitcher was the second hitter in the inning,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. … Lee’s two stolen bases tied a career high.

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