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Bottom's up as Cubs top Padres

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Monday was a good night to be at the bottom of the Chicago Cubs' order.

Cody Ransom homered and hit a tiebreaking single, Darwin Barney doubled twice and had a pair of RBIs and the Cubs' bullpen held off the San Diego Padres to preserve a 5-3 victory.

"The bottom of our order was huge tonight, Cody came up with a big home run and a huge base hit to take the lead back after we just gave it up," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He did a nice job."

A series of relievers, meanwhile, had occasionally rocky moments but also got timely outs.

San Diego loaded the bases in the seventh on reliever Shawn Camp, who was pulled with one out. Left-hander James Russell entered and struck out Yonder Alonso, then got an inning-ending groundout from Jedd Gyorko.

Russell departed with two outs in the eighth and runners on second and third. Right-hander Kevin Gregg got Chris Denorfia on a short groundout, then worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.

"The guys (in the bullpen) are getting the job done and getting the big outs when we have to," Sveum said. "That's the key, making the pitches when you need to."

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija pitched five innings but wasn't involved in the decision. Michael Bowden (1-1) worked a scoreless sixth.

Padres' lefty Clayton Richard (0-3) lost his second straight start. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out one.

"I liked Clayton's velocity," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It looks as though his arm strength's back from where he was a couple of starts ago. He (just) got a couple of pitches up early to Hairston and Ransom for the home runs.

"We just couldn't seem to cash in when we had a couple of guys on," Black said. "We couldn't make the big hit."

Ransom homered in the second inning off Richard. Barney added two RBIs on two doubles.

"I wish I could have put us in a better position to win," said Richard, who struggled against Ransom and Barney. "I fell behind and then left pitches over the plate that they took advantage of. I need to trust my stuff and be able to throw strikes early in the count."

San Diego leadoff man Everth Cabrera went 3-for-4 and scored twice.

The Padres took advantage of Samardzija's two first-inning wild pitches for a quick 1-0 lead.

Cabrera opened the game with a walk, advanced to second on Chase Headley's base hit and reached third on the Samardzija's first wild pitch during Carlos Quentin's at-bat. Quentin struck out, but Padres catcher Nick Hundley couldn't handle the pitch, allowing Cabrera to score.

The Cubs replied with back-to-back solo homers with one out in the second to claim a 2-1 lead.

Scott Hairston evened the score, sending Richard's 3-1 pitch to the left field bleachers for his second home run of the season. Ransom followed with a shot straight to center field on a 3-2 pitch. It was also his second homer of the year.

It was the second straight home game the Cubs have hit consecutive home runs in an inning.

Welington Castillo doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on Barney's two-out double to left-center for a 3-1 Cubs lead.

"I'm feeling better and better," said Barney, who appeared in just his 10th game Monday. "I'm working on my posture a little bit and swinging at better pitches and hopefully it turns around a little more."

The Padres loaded the bases in the fifth as Samardzija gave up a single to Cabrera and walked Denforia and Quentin.

Alonso's bloop base hit to left scored Cabrera and Denorfia to tie the game at 3-3, but Samardzija escaped the inning by striking out Gyorko.

Samardzija, who said he had some trouble with his grip Monday, wound up allowing three runs on four hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out eight.

NOTES: 1B Anthony Rizzo enters the final day of the month with the most homers in April ever by a Cubs' left-handed hitter (eight) and remains two away from the overall club record for April, set by Alfonso Soriano in 2011 ... Monday marked the 30th anniversary of former Cub manager Lee Elia's profanity-laced tirade against fans after a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field. "Eighty-five percent of the (bleeping) world is working. The other 15 come out here," said Elia, who was fired on Aug. 21, 1983. ... Hundley hit .364 (20-for-55) with eight extra-base hits over his previous 15 games ... Padres RHP Edinson Volquez, who starts Tuesday at Wrigley, has never lost to the Cubs. He's 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA against them. RHP Edwin Jackson will pitch fr Chicago.
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