SAN DIEGO -- Kyle Schwarber and All-Star Javier Baez look like they're ready for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.Schwarber hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Baez drove in five runs, including three on a home run in the ninth, to power the Cubs to an 11-6 come-from-behind
SAN DIEGO -- Kyle Schwarber and All-Star Javier Baez look like they're ready for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
Schwarber hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Baez drove in five runs, including three on a home run in the ninth, to power the Cubs to an 11-6 come-from-behind victory over the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday night and open a 1 1/2-game lead in the Central Division.
"You saw a pretty big power swing by Javy and that's a little taste of what you guys will be getting for the Derby," Schwarber said. "It's going to be fun."
Baez, who also hit a two-run double in the fifth, matched a season-high with five RBIs. He'll start at second base for the National League team on Tuesday night at Nationals Park and now has 20 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs over his last 22 games. For the season, he has 71 RBIs, just four shy of his career high of 75 set last year.
"We're running out of [superlatives]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Baez. "I like the way he's going about his business. He's playing the game right, playing the game hard, playing the game smartly. He's just playing the game of baseball. I don't think he has an analytical bone in his body. … He's absolutely fun to watch."
Baez wasn't feeling well before the game but the Cubs were without Albert Almora Jr., who left the team to attend to a family matter.
"He sucks it up and goes out there and has that day he had," Schwarber said of Baez. "It's classic Javy. He's a grinder. People see the flash, and people see the style. Here, we see the toughness and the grit and that's something he brings to all of us."
Kyle Hendricks served up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the Padres' first and held on for the win, his second in his last nine starts. This was the Cubs' 11th win in their last 14 games and also their 30th come-from-behind win this season.
Prior to the game, Maddon delivered his second team meeting of the year to give the players something to think about during the All-Star break.
"I was able to talk about things with this group," Maddon said. "They're seeking a different kind of message. It's not, 'Let's go boys, let's win one for the Gipper, let's play hard.' They're a little more intellectually oriented."
Maddon didn't just repeat his message from Spring Training, when he held his first team meeting of the year.
"The big thing was to emphasize the heartbeat over analytics and just play good baseball and not worry about what the numerical world is saying," he said.
What does that mean?
"Analytically, everybody likes walks but if the guy is able to drive in 60-some runs, hit near .300, have almost 20 homers, steal bases, score from first base on wild pitches, play all over defensively and make plays nobody has seen before, I think analytical types can accept that, too," Maddon said.
Whom was he talking about? Baez, of course.
With the win, the Cubs are assured of being in first place at the All-Star break. Last year, they trailed the Brewers by 5 1/2 games.
"It's good to be at the top," Hendricks said. "The Brewers are a great team behind us. There's no days off in the second half. We have to play the same baseball we've been playing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dingers: About five hours before first pitch, Schwarber was working on his home run swing to prepare for the Home Run Derby. All the extra batting practice paid off in the fourth when he connected on a 3-1 fastball from starter Luis Perdomo with a man on, giving the Cubs a 3-2 lead.
"I've been feeling pretty decent at the plate and trying to take good swings at balls and not try to do too much with the ball," Schwarber said.
Upon further review: The Cubs had a runner at first and one out in the fifth when Jason Heyward lined the ball to left for a single. Heyward tried to stretch his hit and did a swim move to avoid the tag. However, he was called out. The Cubs challenged the ruling and after a review, it was overturned. Baez followed with a two-run double for a 5-2 lead, chasing Perdomo.
Did Baez teach Heyward that move?
"They ask me all the time how I do that," Baez said. "I don't know if you can teach it. When you slide, you have to keep your head up and see where's the glove, where's the tag, when they're going to tag you. It comes in my mind really fast at that moment."
Ian Happ's leadoff home run in the Cubs' second inning was the 2,000th home run hit at Petco Park, visitors and Padres combined. Happ, by the way, is batting .368 with 14 walks and a .493 OBP in his last 19 games.
HE SAID IT
"I don't have tomorrow in my mind, to be honest. I don't know what's going to happen. I think for me, working, getting my body to where I need it to be ready for the game is the most important thing to me." -- Baez, on whether he thought this might be a special season for him
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With a runner at first and one out in the Cubs' fifth, Heyward lined a single to left. Heyward tried to stretch his hit for a double but was called out at second base on a 7-4 relay. The Cubs challenged the ruling and after a review, the call was overturned.
All-Star Jonathan Lester will close the first half of the season on Sunday in the series finale. The lefty did not get a decision in his last outing against the Reds, giving up four runs over 6 1/3 innings. Lester will miss pitching at Wrigley Field, where he's 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA. Named to his fifth All-Star team, Lester will head to Washington, D.C., for Tuesday's game but will not pitch. On Sunday, the Padres will counter with lefty Eric Lauer. First pitch from Petco Park was scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.