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Padres blow past Cubs with fourth-run eighth

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- It was a pitcher's kind of day at Wrigley Field with a cold wind howling from the north and runs hard to come by.

But the San Diego Padres figured out a solution in the eighth inning as they scored four runs and sent 10 men to the plate in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday to split the four-game series.

Everth Cabrera singled home the go-ahead run as the Padres scored four times after two were out.

Left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher (2-0) worked one-third inning and got the victory. Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.

Padres right-hander Eric Stults didn't get a decision, but his two-run, seven-hit effort through 6 2/3 innings kept it close enough for his teammates to eventually catch and pass the Cubs.

"You can be a little more aggressive over the plate, maybe not as fine on the corners," said Stults, who gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to Scott Hairston. "But you do know the ballgame's going to be close and you try to make every pitch count."

Hairston's homer-- his third of the season-- scored Welington Castillo and opened a temporary 2-0 Chicago lead.

Cubs starter Travis Wood (2-2) was just as good -- at least through seven innings -- as Stults. He sailed along with a shutout until running into trouble in the eighth.

"It was a tough one to lose," said Wood, who allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings, struck out three and walked one. "We battled all game for Hairston to come up with that big two-run homer and for us not to be able to hold it off stings a little bit."

Stults pitched 6 2/3 innings before he was lifted in favor of right-handed reliever Brad Brach, who faced one batter before leaving for Thatcher. Stults allowed two earned runs, seven hits and two walks and struck out four.

Wood retired 14 straight batters before Kyle Blanks singled up the middle with two out in the fifth.

"Everything was working," Wood said. "I was able to locate pitches and keep them off balance and get some early outs and some low pitch counts."

The Cubs threatened in the bottom of the second with runners at second and third with one out and the bases loaded with two outs. But Chicago failed to score as Stults got Wood to pop out to short right field to end the inning.

Wood struggled in the eighth as the the Padres put runners on first and second with none out. Jedd Gyorko flied to left for the first out, but Nick Hundley sent a sacrifice fly to right that moved Jesus Guzman to third. Guzman scored when Cubs right fielder Julio Borbon and second baseman Darwin Barney misjudged a fly ball, allowing Yonder Alonso to reach base.

"He was a missed popup away from pitching eight shutout innings," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Getting the loss was a shame."

But Wrigley Field never an easy place to play when the wind is blowing.

"When the wind is either blowing out significantly or blowing in, funny things can happen," Padres manager Bud Black said. "You saw that with the popup between Barney and Borbon. We really caught a break there."

Wood then departed in favor of Shawn Camp, whose first pitch was mishandled by Castillo for a passed ball that allowed Banks to score from third and tie it. Camp walked Chris Denorfia and was replaced by ace left-hander James Russell.

"(Castillo) obviously had a mental lapse," Sveum said. "But he's caught really, really well for a kid who's had a half-year in the big leagues."

Cabrera greeted Russell with a single that scored Alonso for a 3-2 Padres lead. Chris Headley then beat out an infield hit that brought Denorfia home for a 4-2 advantage.

San Diego had runners on second and third with one out against Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, but Alonso lined to first for the second out and Marmol got pinch-hitter Will Venable to ground out to short.

Street, the Padres' fifth pitcher of the day, gave up a two-out double to pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz in the ninth.

The Cubs play host to Cincinnati on Friday in the opener of a three-game weekend series. The Padres are home for three games with Arizona starting Friday night.

NOTES: Black flipped the top of his order in Thursday's finale, moving Denorfia into the leadoff spot and Cabrera down a spot to No. 2. ... San Diego recalled right-hander Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Tuscon and optioned left-hander Robbie Erlin. Boxberger was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Tuscon. ... Gyorko, who led all major league rookies with 23 hits in April, is hitting .324 in his last nine game with four runs, four doubles and three RBI. He also collected his first big-league homer on Wednesday. ... Hours after using seven left-handed batters in Wednesday's 6-2 victory, Sveum went with a right-handed dominated lineup against Stults. First baseman Anthony Rizzo was the only lefty in the Cubs' starting lineup ... The Cubs have made 22 errors, second most in the majors behind Washington (24). The 22 miscues have led to 14 unearned runs.
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