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Grand opener: Padres slam reigning champs

May 29, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks cruised through the Padres' lineup once on Monday afternoon. Then, in the fourth inning, Hunter Renfroe turned around a Hendricks fastball -- and the game -- in an instant.The Padres right fielder launched a grand slam into the left-field seats, turning a two-run

SAN DIEGO -- Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks cruised through the Padres' lineup once on Monday afternoon. Then, in the fourth inning, Hunter Renfroe turned around a Hendricks fastball -- and the game -- in an instant.
The Padres right fielder launched a grand slam into the left-field seats, turning a two-run deficit into a two-run lead and sending San Diego on course for a 5-2 series-opening victory over the Cubs at Petco Park.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
"I was just able to get enough barrel on it to muscle it out," said Renfroe, who pumped his fist and pointed into the seats behind the dugout as he rounded first base.
Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Renfroe and other #ASGWorthy players
Hendricks retired the first 10 men he faced, but he allowed three straight Padres to reach in the fourth. That set the stage for Renfroe to hit the club's first grand slam since he did so against the Dodgers last Sept. 27. An inning later, Hendricks exited for a pinch-hitter after allowing five runs on six hits over five frames.
"I felt pretty good," Hendricks said. "There was just some bad contact that found some holes and one pitch [to Renfroe]. I tried to run a fastball in there and it kind of straightened out on me. That's how it goes. We have to stick with what we're doing, keep it simple and focus on pitch to pitch."

He took the loss, as the Cubs fell to .500 with their fourth straight defeat to start their West Coast trip. In the process, they became the first team since the Braves in September 2009 to work at least 10 walks but record three hits or fewer in a game.
"[Stranding 11] is the real tale of the tape, more so than Kyle's performance," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's the thing that has to happen -- we need to hit like we're capable of."
Bloom: Maddon confident Cubs will right ship
Padres right-hander Jarred Cosart struggled to find the zone from the start. He allowed five free passes and threw 45 of his 87 pitches for balls, but managed to limit the damage to two runs over four innings.
"Pretty much, that's kind of been my whole career -- if I'm in the strike zone, I don't give up a ton of hard-hit balls," Cosart said. "That's what I've got to get back to. I've got to try to get back to six, seven innings."
Jose Torres entered in relief and pitched two scoreless frames to pick up the win. He chipped in offensively as well, scoring an insurance run in the fifth after he slapped a one-out single to left for his first career hit.

Serving notice: Renfroe has cannon in RF
Bullpen gets a Hand: Padres manager Andy Green has said he plans to use Brad Hand in the highest-leverage situations, regardless of inning. On Monday, he had planned to use Hand for the save, but Ryan Buchter ran into trouble with three walks in the top of the seventh.
"That seventh-inning, bases-loaded situation trumps the plan that I initially had in my head, which was [Brandon] Maurer in the eighth for the righties at the bottom of the lineup, and Hand in the ninth," Green said afterward.
The left-hander entered with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh and promptly induced an inning-ending double-play ball from Jason Heyward. With 1 2/3 scoreless frames, Hand lowered his ERA to 1.82 and recorded his 37th and 38th strikeouts. Among National League relievers, he trails only Milwaukee's Corey Knebel in that category.

Minimal damage: The Cubs loaded the bases in each of the first two innings against Cosart, making him labor extensively. But the only damage came on Heyward's two-run single in the first. Cosart would escape that frame when Javier Baez chased a pitch out of the zone. Then he got out of a tricky situation in the second by getting Anthony Rizzo to pop to short, ending the threat. The Cubs were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position in three games against the Dodgers, and were 1-for-10 on Monday.

"These are our players," Maddon said, when asked if he was going to make any changes. "I have all the faith in the world. We're coming off a 7-2 homestand. Everybody loved us a couple days ago. All of a sudden we've had a tough time scoring runs on the road, and we just have to do better." More >
"In Jarred Cosart's case, you're looking at 20 innings pitched, [16] walks. You don't stay in a Major League rotation long doing that. He's got to answer the bell." -- Green
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was busy defensively. With one out in the Padres' first, Yangervis Solarte hit a grounder toward center that Russell snared with a sliding stop, then got to his feet in time to make the throw to first. In the Padres' seventh, Russell shined again as he ran down the left-field line and caught Chase d'Arnaud's fly ball, sliding on the dirt in foul territory. According to Statcast™, Russell covered 114 feet to make the catch.

"Addy's got that acrobat in him -- really good plays," Maddon said.
"It's just reaction," Russell said of the first play. "I tried to make the best route to the ball and spit it out as fast as I can. If I get a glove on it, there's a pretty good chance I can get most people out."
And the foul ball?
"Initial first thought, is it in or out? I didn't get the best jump on it, but just hustled to it and tried to make a play," Russell said.
Cubs infielder Benjamin Zobrist, who did not start the last two games because of a sore left wrist, was lifted from Monday's game after seven innings because he was somewhat limited at the plate. The switch-hitter could bat left-handed but had a tough time hitting from the right side. He walked in his first three at-bats, then tried to bunt in the sixth. Maddon wasn't sure whether Zobrist would be available Tuesday.
Cubs:Eddie Butler will make his fourth career start for the Cubs on Tuesday in the second game of the series. Butler picked up the win in his last outing against the Giants, giving up one run over five innings. He is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in three career appearances against the Padres, including two starts. First pitch will be 9:10 p.m. CT.
Padres: Dinelson Lamet became the second pitcher in Padres history with eight strikeouts in his debut, a win over the Mets last Thursday. The club's No. 10 prospect will make his first start at Petco Park when the Padres host the Cubs at 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday.
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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.