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Hedges' highs and lows loom large vs. Cubs

MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Since returning from the disabled list on June 24, Austin Hedges has been remarkable both behind the dish and with the bat. Usually known for his sound defense and play-calling -- and not usually for offensive production -- the 25-year-old has shown signs of turning his reputation around. He's batting .288 with two homers since rejoining the club and played a key role in San Diego's eighth-inning rally Friday night, when he hit an RBI single to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Unfortunately, the catcher also played a key role in the Cubs' go-ahead rally in extra innings, as the Cubs scored in the ninth and 10th innings to defeat the Padres, 5-4, at Petco Park.

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SAN DIEGO -- Since returning from the disabled list on June 24, Austin Hedges has been remarkable both behind the dish and with the bat. Usually known for his sound defense and play-calling -- and not usually for offensive production -- the 25-year-old has shown signs of turning his reputation around. He's batting .288 with two homers since rejoining the club and played a key role in San Diego's eighth-inning rally Friday night, when he hit an RBI single to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Unfortunately, the catcher also played a key role in the Cubs' go-ahead rally in extra innings, as the Cubs scored in the ninth and 10th innings to defeat the Padres, 5-4, at Petco Park.

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After the Cubs tied the game in the top of the ninth, Javier Baez led off the 10th with a slow roller to third base off Adam Cimber. Christian Villanueva thought about letting it roll foul. Instead, the ball hit the bag and ricocheted for an infield single.

The speedy Baez put pressure on the defense and stole second, leading to two of the Padres' most dependable defenders committing errors on the same play. Hedges' throw to second ended up in center field, and Manuel Margot booted the ball while Baez raced home to score the go-ahead run.

Video: CHC@SD: Baez scores after steal for lead in the 10th

That's all the offense the Cubs needed.

"It got away," Hedges said. "I probably tried to do a little too much. I have to stay more under control and make sure I make a good throw there. In that situation that can't happen."

The throwing error spoiled Hedges' third three-hit night of the season.

With the game deadlocked at three and two out in the eighth, Hedges sent Carl Edwards Jr.'s payoff pitch to right field, driving in Margot.

"He's played really well both sides of the ball," manager Andy Green said, "and for somebody that's played that well to not make a good throw and have it fall apart there on that play, that's tough."

Video: CHC@SD: Hedges hits a go-ahead RBI single in the 8th

Hedges' RBI set the table perfectly for closer Brad Hand, who has pitched well enough in the first half of the season to notch his second consecutive All-Star berth. However, with two outs, Hand hit pinch-hitter Victor Caratini with a pitch. Caratini gave way to pinch-runner Jason Heyward, and Anthony Rizzo made Hand pay next at-bat when he split the gap between Wil Myers and Margot with an RBI double to knot the game back up at four apiece. It was Hand's third blown save in his last six appearances.

"That [hit-by-pitch] is a tough one right there," Green said. "You don't want to do that, he doesn't want to do that. The Rizzo at-bat is just a grind at-bat between two All-Star-caliber players. The Caritini [at-bat], I'm sure he'd want back right now."

After Hand couldn't close the deal, the Padres led off the bottom of the ninth with high hopes in their Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters. But the trio of Carlos Asuaje, Myers and Eric Hosmer was no match for Cubs' reliever Pedro Strop, as the right-hander struck out the side.

CLAYTON BACK ON TRACK
Clayton Richard returned to his usual innings-eating form Friday after snapping a 10-game streak of starts lasting at least six innings on Sunday vs. Arizona. He tossed six innings of three-run ball (two earned) in his first home start since June 4. Of his 19 starts in the first half, 14 lasted six innings or more.

Richard ran into trouble in the second inning when Baez led off with a extra-base hit that needed a replay review to determine if it was a home run or double. It would fall for the latter, but Baez came around to score, anyway, when Ian Happ lined a two-run single four batters later. 

Video: CHC@SD: Richard fans Contreras in the 2nd 

SOUND SMART
As a speed-and-defense type, Travis Jankowski has never been known for his power. But he put a charge into his second-inning homer -- a two-run shot that gave the Padres a 3-2 lead. Jankowski's blast traveled a projected 415 feet, according to Statcast™, marking the longest of the six career home runs he's hit.

Video: CHC@SD: Jankowski belts a 2-run homer in the 2nd 

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Jankowski led off the Padres offense with speed -- both by his infield single and the time it took for replay to review it. Jankowski sent a chopper up the middle to shortstop Albert Almora Jr., but first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn called him out. A review overturned the call.

Video: CHC@SD: Jankowski hits infield single after review 

UP NEXT
Luis Perdomo's first half was a tumultuous one. He was hit hard in April and sent to Triple-A for a couple months. Perdomo returned in early July, and he's much been better since then. But the 25-year-old righty is still looking to find his big league footing. He takes the ball on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. PT, opposite Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks.

Katie Woo covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.

San Diego Padres, Austin Hedges, Clayton Richard