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Padres nearly complete comeback vs. Cubs

San Diego scores 3 runs in final two frames, but outs at home prove key
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- A day after snapping their seven-game losing streak, the Padres nearly completed a late comeback vs. the Cubs. The final push, however, wasn't enough to overcome their initial lull, as they lost, 5-4, on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

"I thought it was a really good battle from our guys," manager Andy Green said. "I like the way the guys fought. It's a frustrating way to lose."

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CHICAGO -- A day after snapping their seven-game losing streak, the Padres nearly completed a late comeback vs. the Cubs. The final push, however, wasn't enough to overcome their initial lull, as they lost, 5-4, on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

"I thought it was a really good battle from our guys," manager Andy Green said. "I like the way the guys fought. It's a frustrating way to lose."

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San Diego's first real shot at a rally came in the eighth inning. Cory Spangenberg and Travis Jankowski led off with consecutive singles, and the Padres caught a break when Cubs reliever Steve Cishek threw a potential double-play comebacker from Manuel Margot into center field, allowing Spangenberg to score.

Video: SD@CHC: Spangenberg scores on throwing error in 8th

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It was 5-2, when, for the second straight inning, the first two Padres reached to lead off the ninth. Spangenberg followed with an RBI double to left to make it a two-run game, and Jankowski's groundout to first brought San Diego within one.

"I don't think there was a different approach as much as just guys sticking with the approach," Jankowski said of the Padres' late offensive life. "I can't speak for everyone, but the ball that I hit [in the eighth] was probably a mistake. He just left it over the middle of the plate.

"Everyone in here does their homework. Everyone has the scouting report on the pitchers in their 'pen. Guys stuck with it today, and it paid off. Obviously not the outcome we wanted, but I think there were a lot of positives to take from it."

Video: SD@CHC: Jankowski brings home a run with a groundout

The Cubs brought the infield in with one out and Spangenberg on third. It paid off, as he was thrown out trying to score on a fielder's choice to third baseman David Bote. Pinch-hitter Austin Hedges struck out to end the game.

"You've got Pedro Strop on the mound," Green said of Spangenberg getting thrown out at home. "You can leave the guy at third base, and you're banking on the next guy getting a hit. It's a higher-percentage chance, by far. Obviously, it's a risk. The guy made a very nice play."

Video: SD@CHC: Bote throws out Spangenberg at home in 9th

Christian Villanueva's 20th home run in the fourth inning represented the Padres' only run through the game's first seven frames.

San Diego starter Tyson Ross allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in five innings. He said he didn't have his best stuff, but the Padres were well within reach when he was removed to start the sixth.

Video: SD@CHC: Villanueva slugs his 20th home run in the 4th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Three plays at the plate perhaps decided the outcome of Friday's game. The Cubs' third run came home when Tommy La Stella was called safe when first baseman Eric Hosmer tried to throw him out. Padres catcher A.J. Ellis pleaded his case with home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth, but it was all for naught, as San Diego had already unsuccessfully used its challenge in the second inning.

Video: SD@CHC: La Stella avoids the tag to extend the lead

Twice, once in each of the final two innings, the Padres had a runner on third who broke for home on contact. Both times, the runner was nailed at the plate for the second out. In the eighth, Javier Baez fired home to get Jankowski, and Bote retired Spangenberg with his throw to Victor Caratini in the ninth.

"Both those throws were on the money," Jankowski said. "If those throws are up the first-base line a little bit, give us an area to slide, one of those we're probably scoring."

Video: SD@CHC: Baez makes strong throw home to get the out

HE SAID IT
"They've got a good club. They've been to the postseason. They won a World Series. We've got a ways to go to even be in comparison with them." -- Green

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Padres decided to use their challenge to see if a pitch -- the second ball of the at-bat -- hit Villanueva as he was leading off the second inning. It was risky for Green to ask for a review with nobody out and nobody on in the second inning of a scoreless game, but he said he felt it was conclusive enough to overturn. The call on the field stood. San Diego was without its challenge for the remainder of the game, which proved significant when Green was unable to challenge when La Stella was called safe at home to score in the fifth inning.

"One time it's conclusive proof, and the next time it's like, 'Ah, that was close enough,'" Green said. "It's hard to understand what to replay at times.

"It's equally as frustrating when they blow a call at the plate that we know is an out, and we can't replay it at that point in time."

Video: SD@CHC: Padres challenge call of a ball in the 2nd

UP NEXT
Right-hander Walker Lockett was announced as the Padres' starter for Saturday's game against the Cubs shortly after the conclusion of Friday's contest. Lefty Joey Lucchesi was initially slated to pitch, but he was scratched due to a stomach illness. Lockett was roughed up in his first career start earlier this season, when he allowed four runs to the Reds in 3 2/3 innings. His only other Major League outing came in relief on July 9, when he surrendered two runs in two innings. The Cubs send righty Kyle Hendricks to the mound, with first pitch set for 11:20 a.m. PT from Wrigley Field.

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

San Diego Padres