Cubs waste lead, Rusin’s start in loss to Padres

The Chicago Cubs left San Diego for their bus ride to Los

Angeles at an hour in which traffic wasn’t bad. That doesn’t mean

the ride wouldn’t be a long one.

Their Sunday had the potential to be much better. Chicago broke

open a scoreless game with two runs in the 13th inning, but San

Diego got even in its half, and the Padres escaped with a 3-2

victory with a run in the 15th.

The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, including an 8-6 defeat on Friday

in which they squandered a 6-0 lead.

One positive from Sunday was the performance of starting pitcher

Chris Rusin. The lefty was long gone when San Diego walked off with

a win. He spent most of the afternoon watching the game on TV in

the clubhouse, as his teammates failed to put away the Padres.

But that didn’t overshadow his latest fine outing. Rusin pitched

6 1-3 innings and allowed three hits and four walks. He made the

key pitches when he needed to, and kept his record at 2-3 while

lowering his ERA to 2.64. He is 0-2 in his last three starts

despite a 2.00 ERA.

”My offspeed and fastballs today were good,” Rusin said. ”I

could throw them at any count, and that’s what helped me get

through the game.”

Rusin continues to be a road highlight for a team that is under

.500 away from Wrigley Field. He has thrown 19 1-3 consecutive

scoreless innings on the road, spanning three starts. According to

STATS, he is the first Cubs rookie starter since day-to-day data

became available in 1974, to put together a scoreless away streak

as long.

”He was great,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ”He kept the

ball down and there was not a lot of hard contact.”

The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the 13th thanks in part to Padres

first baseman Jesus Guzman hitting Nick Schierholtz’s helmet with a

throw after Schierholtz left the batter’s box on what looked to be

a potential bases-loaded, double play.

”I’ve never seen that one before,” Sveum said.

Schierholtz said he got out of the box in an awkward manner

because he tweaked his back on the swing. Then he got plunked by

Guzman.

”Just a nightmare of a play,” said Schierholtz, who said his

back and head are probably fine.

The Padres tied it when Ronny Cedeno made a daring dash to the

plate on Kevin Gregg’s wild pitch after Cedeno had tripled with two

outs.

”I don’t think Ronny saw (the ball) immediately,” Padres

manager Bud Black said. ”Where he is, where the ball is and where

the catcher is, it’s not a great view. You don’t know how far the

ball is going to come toward our dugout.

”He picked it up and made a decision to go. But if there was a

good throw and tag, he probably would have been out.”

Logan Forsythe set up the winning hit with a one-out single

against Hector Rondon (2-1). He moved up on a groundout before

Alexi Amarista was intentionally walked.

Nick Hundley then lined a clean single into center field, and

Forsythe scored easily, giving San Diego its third win in four

games. Dale Thayer (2-3) wiggled out of a jam in the top half to

get the victory.

The game lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes, and the teams combined to

use 15 pitchers. But it wasn’t even the longest game of the

weekend: Arizona beat Philadelphia 12-7 in 18 innings on Saturday

night.

NOTES: Cubs C Welington Castillo was back in the lineup after

missing three games with bruised ribs. … Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo

will remain in the No. 2 spot in the order. Rizzo, according to

Sveum, has sparked the offense the last four games. ”We’re scored

six, four, six and three,” Sveum said before Sunday’s game. ”I’m

not changing anything.” … The Padres will start Tyson Ross on

Monday when they open a two-city, six-game road trip in Arizona.

… The Padres aren’t sure on their starting pitcher for Wednesday.

With veteran RHP Edinson Volquez recently designated for

assignment, the Padres are juggling their rotation and considering

various options.