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Hedges' 3-run homer sparks Padres' victory

Erlin pins down Cubs over 5 strong frames in spot start
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Padres were eager to flip the calendar after their second-worst month in franchise history. So far, so good, as they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

The big blow was Austin Hedges' go-ahead three-run homer down the left-field line in the sixth inning. It was Hedges' seventh home run of the season, and it had an exit velocity of 101 mph, according to Statcast™.

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CHICAGO -- The Padres were eager to flip the calendar after their second-worst month in franchise history. So far, so good, as they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Cubs on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.

The big blow was Austin Hedges' go-ahead three-run homer down the left-field line in the sixth inning. It was Hedges' seventh home run of the season, and it had an exit velocity of 101 mph, according to Statcast™.

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"Trying to drive something to at least get [Eric Hosmer] in from third," Hedges said. "He gave me a good fastball to hit. I was able to put a good swing on it."

Hedges has played well since coming off the disabled list on June 24, though it has happened somewhat quietly due to the Padres' awful 5-20 stretch in July. After going 3-for-4 on Thursday, Hedges is hitting .306 with five home runs over 25 games since returning from the right elbow injury that sidelined him for nearly two months.

Hedges went so far as to say this is the best he's felt in the box since making his Major League debut in May 2015.

"Physically, I see him more into his legs, more into his base than he was before," manager Andy Green said. "There's a shortness and an aggressiveness to his swing right now that's playing really nicely."

Padres left-hander Robbie Erlin started in place of the injured Luis Perdomo after mostly being used as a multi-inning reliever. As strong as Erlin has been out of the bullpen, he had struggled mightily in two previous starts this season, going 0-2 with a 14.14 ERA.

Video: SD@CHC: Erlin strikes out Heyward swinging

That was not the case on Thursday, as Erlin tossed five strong innings and held the National League's best offense to one run on two hits. He did not allow a baserunner until Jason Heyward beat out a slow grounder to first base with two out in the fourth.

"I just tried to keep my focus on one pitch at a time, one hitter at a time," Erlin said. "I feel like I kind of got away from that previously [as a starter], kind of got caught up in who's coming up next, or the next inning or something like that, which isn't very effective."

Green said Erlin earned another start.

"Throughout the course of the year, he's had like 98 percent great outings," Green said. "He's had the two starts that didn't go well, so this is just in line with who he's been all season."

Video: SD@CHC: Hosmer laces an RBI single to center field

The Padres added another run in the seventh as Hosmer singled home Manuel Margot and extended his hitting streak to nine games. Their final two runs came in the eighth when A.J. Ellis ripped a pinch-hit RBI double to left-center field and Margot hit a fielder's choice that scored Ellis.

"They swung the bats really well," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They just beat us up tonight."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hedges' homer was the difference, but it was the previous at-bat by Christian Villanueva that perhaps made the big sixth inning possible. With Hosmer on first, Villanueva fouled off five two-strike pitches before hitting a broken-bat single to right field.

Video: SD@CHC: Hedges, Margot on big win to end 7-game slide

SOUND SMART
The Padres recorded double-digit hits for just the second time in their last 27 games dating to June 30. The only other game they had at least 10 hits in that stretch came when they had 15 against the Phillies on July 22.

MYERS DAY TO DAY
Padres left fielder Wil Myers left the game in the sixth inning with a left foot contusion after he fouled a ball off his foot during an at-bat in the fifth. X-rays came back negative, but he will undergo additional tests on Friday morning. Myers is considered day to day. More >

Video: SD@CHC: Cubs induce double play, Myers later exits

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY

The Cubs' run came in the fifth inning when Willson Contreras scored on a fielder's choice, which initially was an inning-ending 1-6-2 double play. Chicago challenged the call on the field, and it was overturned after replay showed Contreras evaded Hedges' tag at the plate with a swim-move slide.

Video: SD@CHC: Contreras scores after clever slide in 5th

UP NEXT
Padres right-hander Tyson Ross (6-8, 4.41 ERA) will make his first start since the non-waiver Trade Deadline at 11:20 a.m. PT on Friday at Wrigley Field.. Ross, who was mentioned in rumors, has yet to pitch past the fifth inning since the All-Star break. He'll square off against Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (9-7, 4.26 ERA).

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

San Diego Padres, Robbie Erlin, Austin Hedges