The Chicago Cubs have absolutely been dominant this season, surging to an 8 game win streak and a record of 25-6 entering play Wednesday morning. They outlasted the Padres 8-7 in their win Tuesday night, but the game looked closer at the end than it actually felt. If not for a late Alex Dickerson grand slam it would’ve been another victory by 4 or more runs. The Cubs hoped the story would be the same Wednesday. The Padres came out swinging to prove them wrong.
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Travis Jankowski got the start over Jon Jay and led the game off with a walk before stealing second base. The Cubs had their back-ups in the game too, and Kris Bryant had the day off over Javier Baez. His throwing error on a Wil Myers hit brought home the first Padres run before Matt Kemp brought home Myers and the Padres had an early 2-0 lead. Good start, right?
The Cubs came back and by the end of the 4th they were up 2 against Colin Rea and the Padres. The Cubs Kyle Hendricks was still going into the 7th inning when Travis Jankowski singled again before the Cubs brought in Pedro Strop. Strop had a day he would like to forget.
He started it off with a wild pitch, and after a single and a walk Brett Wallace let loose on an opposite field drive to left center that cleared the ivy and gave the Padres the 6-4 lead. Hoping to preserve his bullpen for Game 2, Maddon let Strop in for another single and walk before replacing him and ending the inning. Fernando Rodney closed it out for his 9th save in as many chances. The Padres win Game 1 7-4.
Game 2 was a decidedly different affair. Drew Pomeranz was outstanding AGAIN and the veteran John Lackey was just as good. Lackey went 8, allowing just 3 hits with no walks and striking out 7. However, one of those hits was a Christian Bethancourt home run, his third of the season and the difference in the game.
Pomeranz pitched six innings striking out 10 and walking just 3 with 3 hits. He was able to wriggle out of trouble and left it to the bullpen. Kevin Quackenbush continued his recent resurgence with a 1-2-3 7th inning. Brad Hand made things interesting in the 8th, as well as Alexei Ramirez who dropped a routine fly ball with two outs to give the Cubs additional life. Fortunately, he was able to strike out Jorge Soler to end the threat.
Fernando Rodney was called upon for the second time in a day and stranded the tying run at second base as the Padres hung on for the 1-0 victory.
All in all, the Padres beat the current best team in baseball with stellar pitching and some timely home runs. They are now 6-4 in their last 10 games. The bullpen has been pitching much better and you have to think that with each Christian Bethancourt hit it might raise questions how long Manager Andy Green can stick with Derek Norris who is now hitting .187.