CHICAGO -- The Padres lost their starter in the third inning and struggled to hit in the clutch but overcame all of that on Wednesday. Erick Aybar hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning and Luis Torrens drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth to
CHICAGO -- The Padres lost their starter in the third inning and struggled to hit in the clutch but overcame all of that on Wednesday. Erick Aybar hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning and Luis Torrens drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth to force in the go-ahead run and lift the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
With the game tied at 2 in the Padres' eighth, William Myers singled off Koji Uehara, and reached third one out later on Cory Spangenberg's single. Aybar was intentionally walked to load the bases. Matthew Szczur popped up to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, but Uehara walked Torrens to force home Myers.
"As far as beating the Cubs, they're the best team in the world," said Aybar, who was sharp defensively as well. "That's what we're always trying to do, go out there and win against the best."
The Cubs totaled two hits, including a two-run homer by rookie Ian Happ with two outs in the fourth off Craig Stammen, who was called on in the third when starter Miguel Diaz had to leave because of an injury. Happ's homer, which Statcast™ projected had an exit velocity of 112 mph, was his second in as many games and 10th of the season.
"The ball comes off the bat -- it comes off hot and loud," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the rookie. "I anticipate it to continue as he gets more acquainted with the league. ... When he hits it, it goes quickly."
The Padres bullpen locked down the Cubs' offense from there. Five relievers combined to allow only those two runs over 6 1/3 innings, and they retired the final 16 Chicago hitters in order.
It was the third time this season the Padres have limited an opponent to two hits. Twice that opponent was the Cubs, who were vying for their first series sweep since June 2-4 at St. Louis.
"Their bullpen matched up well," Maddon said of the Padres. "We hit a couple of balls fairly good at people but otherwise could not mount an attack. ... We have to do more than two runs, especially when you get into the 'pen that early."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Leadoff man: Rizzo's streak of reaching base in his first at-bat ended when he flew out to right field in the Chicago first. The Cubs' leadoff man, who had reached safely in his first seven starts leading off, went 0-for-4 to also end his hitting streak at a career-high 14 games.
Delivery man: The Padres were 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series but came through in the fifth. Stammen doubled to lead off the inning and scored on Jose Pirela's single, which chased Chicago starter Eddie Butler. Justin Grimm, who faced three batters in the ninth on Tuesday night in the Cubs' 4-0 victory, took over and struck out Franchy Cordero, got Myers to pop up, and then struck out Hunter Renfroe to end the inning.
"That was a surprise," Maddon said of Stammen's hit past Kristopher Bryant, who was playing right field. "When the pitcher is hitting like that, the guy doesn't get many at-bats, you're going to try to take the bloop away more than the ball over your head. It was a really not-expected moment."
"It was huge. It's tough to get some veteran guys to [take a walk] sometimes. They want to win the game so bad swinging the bat, that they don't realize a walk is just as powerful in that situation."
-- Padres manager Andy Green on Torrens' walk
"It was good to be home for three days. It's time to get some 'W's' on the road. This was not our best offensive performance. Baseball is a game where that will happen."
-- Happ on the Cubs, who wrapped up their three games at home during a 20-game stretch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Happ hit his 10th homer in his 34th game, and is the second-fastest Cubs player to reach 10 since 1913. Bob Speake hit 10 homers in 32 games in 1955.
IN THE WIN COLUMN
Rookie right-hander Phil Maton retired the middle of the Cubs' order in the seventh, and the Padres would take the lead on Torrens' walk half an inning later. It lined Maton up for his first big league win, barely two years after he was the No. 597 overall pick in the Draft. Maton has faced 15 batters this season, and only one of them has reached. He was given a game ball and the scorecard as keepsakes from his personal milestone.
Diaz had to leave the game after 2 1/3 innings because of a right forearm strain. Diaz threw 43 pitches and had walked Albert Almora Jr. with one out in the third when he exited.
Padres: With his 12 strikeouts against Milwaukee, Dinelson Lamet came one K shy of the franchise's rookie record. He starts Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT when the Padres face the Tigers in Interleague Play. It will be the first series between the clubs in three years.
Cubs:Jacob Arrieta will open the Cubs' four-game series against the Marlins on Thursday. Hitters are having success against Arrieta, posting a .319 BABIP this season. He also has a 5.07 ERA on the road. First pitch is 6:10 p.m. CT from Miami.
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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.