Padres 2, Cubs 1
SAN DIEGO (AP)—It’s not often a .200 hitter feels good about their game, but don’t tell that to Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Kouzmanoff, a rookie who hit .113 the first month of the season, homered for the second straight game when he hit a ball an estimated 438 feet in the seventh inning that gave San Diego their seventh win in nine games.
“I got a good pitch to hit and I hit it hard,” said Kouzmanoff, the rookie acquired in an offseason trade with the Cleveland Indians.
Kouzmanoff extended his hitting streak to six games during which he has gone 10-for-19 with two homers and eight RBIs. Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .325 in May, has lifted his average from .108 on May 10 to a season-high .202.
“Hitting (a home run) like that here was tremendous,” said Wells, who got his first win since April 24. “I was screaming at the guys, “C’mon, whose pitching? Cy Young out there.”
Kouzmanoff hit a 2-0 pitch from Sean Marshall (0-1) deep into the into the second deck in left-center field to ruin Marshall’s first start of the season. Marshall had allowed just two hits heading into the seventh.
“I’m more excited to get to the ballpark every day now,” Kouzmanoff said. “I’m just trying to stay consistent and keep it going.”
Wells (2-2) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five.
“Boomer was outstanding,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “His fastball had life. He had all his pitches working.”
Wells escaped a big jam in the seventh after he issued consecutive one-out walks and gave up bloop single to Mark DeRosa that loaded the bases. The left-hander then got Cesar Izturis to ground into a double play.
“I had no clue what I was doing out there, none whatsoever,” said Wells about the seventh inning. “I don’t think I’ve felt like that in 15 years or more. But I snapped out of it and got the double play. That was huge.”
The Cubs, who stranded seven runners, dropped to 2-10 in one-run games.
“It just happens too many times, we leave them on,” Chicago manager Lou Piniella said. “We have chances to do things with baseball games and we just don’t.”
Marshall allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. Marshall, recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, struck out eight and walked two.
“I felt like I could improve some,” Marshall said. “I felt like the next time around I’ll pitch better. I didn’t pitch the way I had pitched down there.”
DeRosa, who was 4-for-4, put the Cubs ahead 1-0 in the second with a two-out RBI double that scored Matt Murton, who singled.
Chicago 1B Derrek Lee is 0-for-8 with a walk in his first two games since he returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday night. … San Diego has won 10 of its last 11 games against the Cubs, dating back to last year.