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Cubs drop 15-inning marathon in San Diego

Bullpen can't hold lead in 12th; Schierholtz OK after injury scare

SAN DIEGO -- This one was bizarre.

The Cubs and Padres played 12 scoreless innings, then a wacky 13th as runs scored on an error, a sacrifice fly, an RBI triple and a wild pitch. Nate Schierholtz escaped serious injury when a ball glanced off his batting helmet after an errant throw. And Cubs outfielder Brian Bogusevic was next in line to pitch.

"It was one of the weirdest baseball games I've seen," said Padres starter Andrew Cashner.

Nick Hundley smacked a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 15th on Sunday to lift the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs, ending a five-hour, 13-minute game and a long day.

On Friday, the Cubs blew a six-run first-inning lead and lost to the Padres. On Sunday, they couldn't hold a two-run lead in the 13th.

"It's kind of a broken record a little bit," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "These kind of games just get away from us. We played hard and battled and got a big, huge break [in the 13th] and just couldn't hold on."

The Cubs had a chance, taking a 2-0 lead in the 13th. Pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald singled to lead off against Brad Boxberger, and reached third on a hit-and-run single by Starlin Castro. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno had shifted toward second on the play.

Anthony Rizzo walked to load the bases, and Schierholtz hit a ball to first baseman Jesus Guzman, who threw home, but the ball deflected off the left side of Schierholtz's batting helmet and hit him on the shoulder. Schierholtz was safe on the fielder's choice, and a run scored on the error. Bogusevic then lofted a sacrifice fly to right for a 2-0 lead.

"I've never seen that one before," Sveum said of the Schierholtz play.

Schierholtz was lifted after that inning, but it was because he tweaked his back on the swing, and not because of the ball. He stumbled out of the batter's box because of his back, and that may have saved him, because he put his head down as he ran.

"It was just a nightmare of a play, I guess," Schierholtz said. "I think [my back] is the reason I fell in the box."

His face is fine, he said.

"I just looked up and [the ball] was right in front of my face and I think I turned my head just a little bit," he said. "It wouldn't have been fun if I took it right in the face."

No, it wouldn't. It also wasn't fun for the Cubs in the bottom of the 13th, as the Padres rallied against Kevin Gregg. Guzman doubled and scored one out later on Cedeno's triple. On Gregg's second pitch to Alexi Amarista, the ball skipped past catcher Welington Castillo for a wild pitch, and Cedeno scored to tie the game at 2.

"[Castillo] has blocked unbelievable all year, and the ball gets away, and he had the guy but it's tough [for Gregg] to catch a ball like that thrown that close," Sveum said.

Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the 15th, but the Padres got Junior Lake and Donnie Murphy to both ground out.

With one out in the San Diego 15th against Hector Rondon, Logan Forsythe singled and moved up on Cedeno's groundout. Amarista was intentionally walked, and Hundley lined a 1-1 pitch to center for the game-winner.

This was the first time since April 18, 2011, that the Cubs have played an extra inning game after not scoring a run through nine innings, and that game also was against the Padres, but played at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs' best chance may have been in the eighth, when Luke Gregerson walked Darwin Barney to start the inning, and he moved up on pinch-hitter Logan Watkins' sacrifice. But one out later, Rizzo lined out to Gregerson to end the inning.

This was a pitchers' duel for much of the game, as both starters -- Chris Rusin and Andrew Cashner -- were stingy. Rusin gave up three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.64. He is now second in ERA among rookie left-handed starting pitchers this season, trailing the Braves' Alex Wood (2.50). Rusin has posted quality starts in four of his last seven starts.

"I was able to control all my pitches today better than the last game," Rusin said.

What was he thinking as he watched the game unfold?

"I was thinking our pitchers did a great job, throwing strikes and getting outs," Rusin said. "It was the same thing with their pitchers, they did a great job, too. It was just a battle of arms."

Speaking of arms, Rondon was the last reliever left. Bogusevic, who last pitched in 2012 with the Astros, would have been next if needed, Sveum said.

"This was a really hard-fought game," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Both teams had their chances. Both teams were in position. Both pitching staffs made pitches moving down the line. There were some defensive plays that were made. These are great when you win, and they're devastating when you lose."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Kevin Gregg, Hector Rondon, Nate Schierholtz