SAN DIEGO (AP)—Coming home to Petco Park has made a huge difference for the San Diego Padres.
Brian Giles(notes) drove in two runs for the second straight night and the Padres beat the struggling Chicago Cubs 3-1 Saturday to extend their season-high winning streak to eight games, all on the current homestand.
The Padres were a downtrodden bunch after going winless on a six-game trip through Houston and Chicago. But they came home and swept the Reds and Giants, and now can sweep the Cubs with a win on Sunday.
“We’ve definitely turned things around,” said Josh Geer(notes), who settled down after the second inning, when he allowed Derrek Lee’s(notes) home run. “We owed these guys for what they did to us at their place.”
While the Padres are batting .198 during the winning streak, with 28 runs, their pitchers have a 1.59 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 24 walks. Starters are 6-0.
The Cubs lost their season-high sixth straight. Right-hander Randy Wells(notes) hadn’t allowed a run in his first 20 big league innings before giving up Giles’ two-run double with two outs in the fourth inning.
Geer (1-1) got his first win in six starts this season. He allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings. Geer struck out a career-high seven and walked none.
“It was good not walking anybody. I had to stay aggressive,” said Geer, who allowed two one-out singles after giving up Lee’s home run but then got to fly balls to end the inning.
“We swung at a lot of bad pitches,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We took a lot of strikes and swung at a lot of bad pitches out of the zone. He spots the ball well. He knows how to pitch. But we helped him out a lot.”
With Heath Bell(notes) unavailable, Edward Mujica(notes) pitched the ninth for his first career save. He allowed singles to Milton Bradley(notes) and Lee before Micah Hoffpauir(notes) hit into a double play, with first baseman Gonzalez touching the bag, looking at third to hold Bradley, then throwing out Lee at second. Mujica then struck out Geovany Soto(notes).
Wells (0-1) was starting in place of Rich Harden(notes), who went on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a mid-back strain. He previously made two starts while Carlos Zambrano(notes) was on the DL with a strained hamstring. He allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one.
Wells hadn’t allowed a run to score in his previous 15 1-3 innings with the Cubs, including 4 1-3 innings last year, and one inning with Toronto in 2008.
He started strong Saturday night by facing the minimum nine batters through three innings. His only baserunner was Giles, who walked in the second inning before being erased on a double play.
Wells got into trouble in the fourth when he hit Edgar Gonzalez with a pitch with one out, then allowed a single to Scott Hairston(notes) with two outs. Giles, batting just .166 coming in, brought them both in when he doubled into the left-field corner.
“I was going good there for a little bit,” Wells said. “I was trying to stay focused and not get caught up in everything.”
Wells said he watched Giles’ hit on videotape “and it didn’t look like that bad of a pitch. He just did what he was supposed to do with it. I thought I made good pitches all night but two of them hurt.”
Giles had multiple RBIs in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
“I feel all right,” he said. “I’m not locked in but I’m taking better swings and seeing the ball better.”
Lee homered to left-center on the first pitch of the second, his fifth.
Cubs leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano(notes) got the night off … San Diego 2B David Eckstein(notes) sat out a night after getting hit in the upper chest by a pitch from Zambrano while squaring to bunt on Friday night. … The Padres celebrated the 25th anniversary of their first NL pennant by honoring 12 players and coaches from the 1984 team, including Steve Garvey and Dave Dravecky. San Diego rallied from a 0-2 deficit to beat the Cubs that year in the NL championship series before losing the World Series in five games against Detroit. Coincidentally, Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell, who grew up in San Diego, was MVP of that World Series as Detroit’s shortstop.