Cubs 5, Padres 2
The San Diego Padres are quickly running out of chances to stay
in the playoff race.
Alfonso Soriano homered twice, including a two-run shot off
struggling San Diego ace Mat Latos, and the Chicago Cubs won 5-2 on
Tuesday night to drop the wilting Padres 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta
in the NL wild-card race.
The 22-year-old Latos, who fumed after the Cubs scored two
unearned runs in the fifth, lost his fourth straight start, his
worst stretch this season.
Padres have lost 21 of 32 games since Aug. 25, when they were
76-49 and had a 6 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the NL West. The
Padres dropped two games behind the Giants, who beat Arizona 4-2 to
reduce their magic number to four for clinching the division. After
two more games against the Cubs, the Padres will close the season
with three games at San Francisco.
”Here’s the deal – we know where we are. We’ve got to play good
baseball,” manager Bud Black said. ”We’ve got to get the bats
going. We have to score some runs and hopefully we break out
tomorrow and this could get contagious through the lineup. We have
to play good defense, we have to do everything to win a game. And
that’s what we’ve done the entire year.”
The Padres were four-hit for the second straight night, this
time by Ryan Dempster and two relievers. Dempster (15-11) struck
out nine in seven innings. Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his
36th save in 41 chances, and his 20th since the All-Star break.
The Padres lost 1-0 to Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs on Monday
”Our season is kind of lost, but opportunities like these are
exciting because we’re going up against a team fighting for a
playoff spot,” Dempster said.
Before his skid, Latos (14-9) set a major league record with 15
straight starts of five or more innings with two or fewer runs
allowed. In his last four starts, he’s allowed 18 earned runs in 16
innings (10.13 ERA), and hasn’t made it out of the sixth
”I know I gave up four runs but I felt like the old me,” Latos
With the score tied at 2 and Xavier Nady aboard on a leadoff
single in the sixth, Soriano homered into the Padres’ bullpen
beyond the fence in left-center. It was his 23rd. Latos got Blake
DeWitt to fly out to left, then was hit on the right calf by Koyie
Hill’s comebacker, which went for an infield single. Latos stayed
in the game, allowed Dempster’s sacrifice bunt and then was pulled
in favor of lefty Joe Thatcher, who got the final out.
”Soriano is a good low-ball hitter and I gave him exactly what
he wanted,” Latos said.
Soriano homered again on full-count pitch from Mike Adams
leading off the eighth.
Latos allowed four runs, two earned, and seven hits in 5 2-3
innings. He struck out six and walked two.
A Padres’ defensive meltdown led to the Cubs scoring two
unearned runs in the fifth. Latos barehanded Hill’s one-out bunt
but dropped it for an error. Dempster sacrificed over Hill, who
scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s double to left-center. Starlin Castro
beat out an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop as Miguel
Tejada tried to make a twisting, off-balance throw. The ball
skipped past sprawling first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and into the
Padres’ dugout, allowing Fukudome to score.
”I should have fielded it with my glove and not my bare hand,”
Latos said. ”I didn’t rush it but I felt like I could have taken
my time. It hit my palm and took off.”
Black agreed, saying Latos should have gloved the ball.
As for Tejada, ”Miggy was trying to make a play,” Black said.
”When you spin and throw, it’s a do-or-die play. I’m all right
with that because he was trying to make a play.”
An upset Latos was yelling at someone in the dugout after the
San Diego’s Nick Hundley tied it at 2 with a 398-foot home run
on a full-count pitch from Dempster into the second deck in left
field, his eighth. Chase Headley was aboard on a one-out walk.
Moments after homering, Hundley tried to calm down Latos in the
At nearly the exact moment Hundley connected, Juan Uribe hit a
trying solo home run leading off the fourth to pull the Giants into
a 2-2 tie.
Dempster allowed four hits and walked two. The Padres had two
runners on and no outs in the seventh before Dempster struck out
”They have plenty of life left,” Cubs interim manager Mike
Quade said. ”They have two more games at home against us and then
they get to settle things in San Francisco.”
NOTES: Padres OF Will Venable missed his second straight start
with a sore lower back, similar to the injury that landed him on
the DL earlier this season. … Dempster struck out nine for the
fifth time this season. He became the third Canadian-born pitcher
with at least three 15-win seasons. The others are Fergie Jenkins
(10) and Russ Ford (3). … The Cubs, fifth in the NL Central,
improved to 16-8 in September.