Cubs 3, Padres 2

Jeff Samardzija knew what Cubs manager Dale Sveum was doing by

not visiting the mound in the eighth inning.

Sveum left Samardzija on his own when he wriggled out of two

bases-loaded jams in the inning, and the Cubs beat the San Diego

Padres 3-2 Saturday night.

”Me and Dale might have had a meeting if he would have taken me

out right down there in the dugout,” Samardzija joked. ”But

that’s what Dale is all about. Dale is all about putting confidence

in players. There are a lot of under the radar things he does that

puts confidence in his players. He did it for me there, too. He

didn’t even have a mound visit or anything. As a player, that says

a lot.”

Said Sveum about his decision: ”He bared down and got two huge

outs. That’s why you leave a guy like that in the game.”

In his second straight solid outing, Samardzija (8-11) limited

the damage to one run in the decisive eighth when the Padres twice

loaded the bases and cut the lead to one run.

Darwin Barney homered and drove in two runs for Chicago, which

broke a four-game losing streak. In the Cubs’ last eight games,

their only two wins have come in Samardzija’s starts.

”Tip my hat to Barney, too, for giving me those two runs,”

Samardzija said. ”When you have a two-run cushion instead of one,

it helps.”

Trailing 3-1 heading into the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Mark

Kotsay led off with a walk and went to second on Will Venable’s

single. The Padres loaded the bases when Alexi Amarista’s sacrifice

bunt attempt hugged the third base line but stayed fair for a

hit.

Yonder Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly. But Samardzija got

rookie Jedd Gyorko on a fly out. After a passed ball, Samardzija

intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases. He then

struck out Logan Forsythe to end the inning.

”I thought from their standpoint, (Samardzija) is their guy,”

Padres manager Bud Black said. ”He was throwing the ball well. He

wobbled a little bit there but he hung in there and threw

strikes.”

Samardzija allowed two runs on seven hits. The right-hander

struck out seven and walked two.

Samardzija threw a six-hitter in his last start, an 11-1 win

over Washington last Sunday.

The light-hitting Barney, who had three hits, connected for a

solo shot in the fifth inning and added a go-ahead RBI double in

the Cubs’ two-run seventh.

Barney, hitting .221, equaled his career high with his seventh

homer and first since July 14.

Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 30

chances.

Eric Stults (8-11), winless in his last seven starts, gave up

three runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings. The lefty is 0-4 since his

last win on July 14.

The Cubs went ahead 2-1 in the seventh after a leadoff walk to

Darnell McDonald. With one out, Barney hit a ball into the left

field corner. As McDonald rounded third, Forsythe took the relay

throw on the grass just behind third base.

But Forsythe’s throw sailed high into the stands behind home

plate, allowing Barney to go to third. Anthony Rizzo followed with

a two-out RBI single.

Barney homered with one out in the fifth inning, his seventh, to

give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The ball just barely cleared the left

field wall, landing in the first row.

Venable tied the score 1-all with his 19th home run in the

sixth. Venable, who extended his career high with his homer and had

three hits, has hit safely in 19 of 20 games.

NOTES: Fourteen of Venable’s 19 homers have come at pitching

friendly Petco Park. … Stults was the first lefty starter the

Cubs have faced in 16 games. … Barney’s home run was Chicago’s

400th extra-base hit this season. The Cubs have 403, tops in the

NL. … Padres OF-1B Kyle Blanks, on the DL since July 12 with left

Achilles inflammation, will play in a rehab game Sunday with

Triple-A Tucson. … Cubs C Welington Castillo (sore rib) missed

his third straight start but is expected back in the lineup on

Sunday. … Cubs LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08 ERA) faces Padres

righty Andrew Cashner (8-8, 3.74) in Sunday’s finale.