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Observations: Alzolay battles blister in loss to Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Cubs opened the series at San Diego with a 9-4 loss Monday.
Here are 10 observations from the game:
Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay left the game in the fourth inning with a blister on his middle finger, adding context to his early command issues. It was not immediately clear whether the blister would affect his status for his next start.
Alzolay worked out of jams in the first and second innings, limiting the damage to just one run in each frame. Notably, he struck out Padres star Fernando Tatís Jr. with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning.
Alzolay seemed to be finding a rhythm in the third inning, striking out Tatís and Eric Hosmer to open the frame. But then he issued a walk to Jurickson Profar and gave up a two-run home run to Brian O’Grady. Alzolay recorded a season-high five walks.
Only once in the Cubs’ past five games has their starting pitcher made it through the fifth inning. That was Kyle Hendricks, who allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings Sunday. The Cubs again leaned on their taxed bullpen Monday.
Cubs center fielder Jake Marisnick returned from the 10-day IL Monday. In his first at-bat in almost a month, Marisnick lined a single into left field. He next stepped into the batter's box with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. His swinging bunt and Padres pitcher Ryan Weathers’ errant throw to first base brought two runs to the plate.
Cubs shortstop Sergio Alcántara kept alive the Cubs’ “next man up” mantra. Filling in for Javy Báez (sore right thumb), Alcántara hit a sacrifice fly later in the fourth inning to cut the Padres’ lead to 4-3.
Padres catcher Victor Caratini was on base all night against his former club. Caratini went 2-for-3 with a walk Monday. He scored twice, including a close paly at home in a two-run sixth inning.
Cubs outfielder Ian Happ showed his versatility at the plate. Not only did the switch-hitter step up to both sides of the plate, but his plate appearances also included a sac bunt and a home run. The seventh-inning solo shot cut the Padres’ lead to two runs.
Padres third baseman Manny Machado took advantage of a second chance in the eighth inning, when Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo misjudged a fly ball in foul territory, and it bounced off his glove. The next pitch, Machado homered.
The Padres scored far more runs Monday (nine) than they did in their entire three-game series at Wrigley Field last week (six).
On deck: In the second game of the three-game series, Cubs right-hander Zach Davies is scheduled to take the mound Tuesday against Padres righty Dinelson Lamet.
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