Cubs Sweep Padres

By now, the Chicago Cubs should be experts in sweeps. They finally ended their 12-game losing streak, which included four straight sweeps—one against the cross-town rival White Sox.

Still, there is no reason to be rushing to your favorite ticket website and buying season tickets. The Cubs actually played a team that is worse than them. It’s shocking that’s even possible after the numerous losing streaks Chicago has already had and weren’t not even near the All-Star break.

After struggling to score runs in their previous four series – 33 runs in 12 games or 2.75rpg – the Cubs’ bats finally woke from their slumber to break the skid and finally start a winning streak for the fans. But the San Diego Padres brought the lumber too as both teams belted out four homeruns of their own on Memorial Day.

Alfonso Soriano had a field day on the holiday going 3-for-4 with 3-RBIs, a homerun and two runs—Soriano also homered in game two.

Darwin Barney started the bomb blasts by sending the first pitch he saw from Jeff Suppan out of the park. Ian Stewart and Starlin Castro also went deep in the game, but it was Soriano’s sixth-inning jack that gave the Cubs they would not relinquish.

The bullpen was excellent for the first time in days as they allowed only five hits and a run in the finally four-innings of play. With the wind blowing out in game one of this series, the Cubs finally used something to their advantage, getting the better of their opponent in an 11-7 victory.

If there’s one positive thing to say about the Cubs, they are pretty good at winning close games and they needed that Tuesday if they were going to avoid starting another losing streak.

Soriano again was spectacular in the field as well as with the bat. Soriano went deep in the sixth, this time a solo blast, which gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead at the time. But just before that, Soriano made a fantastic diving catch to get Chris Denorfia out, then firing to second to double up Eric Stults – who gambled and went home on the play – to end the inning.

Jeff Samardzija continues to display his ability to be a top of the rotation man and he couldn’t have picked a better day than Jeff Samardzija Bobble Head Day at the Friendly Confines on Tuesday afternoon. He earned his fifth win of the season, going seven strong innings of three-run ball and eight strikeouts on the day.

In the eighth, though, with the Cubs up 4-2, Andy Parrino singled and Will Venable tripled for the Padres to make it a one-run game with no outs and a man at third. But the Padres weren’t able to capitalize on this – something the Cubs struggled with during their recent skid – as Jeff Baker robbed Yonder Alonso the game tying RBI-single with a heads up diving play that kept Venable at third.

The Padres failed to score the rest of the game as Chicago added an insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth to take a 5-3 lead into the final frame. James Russell earned the save by recording the final two outs with two swinging strikeouts.

The Cubs entered play Wednesday with a chance for their first three-game series sweep and first three-game winning streak of the season. However, they had to wait till the very end as they never held a lead in this game until an unsuspecting hitter became the hero. But the villain of the game had to be Carlos Quentin – former White Sox outfielder – as he made his return into the lineup in the series against the Cubs. He had two separate two-run homeruns against Ryan Dempster in back-to-back appearances before Dale Sveum pulled Dempster early. By the way, since returning, Quentin is 7-for-12 with three doubles, three home runs, five runs scored and 6-RBI.

Down one run in the eighth, Tony Campana pinch-ran for Reed Johnson and stole two bases—stealing second even with a pinch-out. With two outs in the inning, Starlin Castro drove in the tying run with a headfirst slide into first as the fans erupted. But they’d get even louder in the next inning.

Bryan LaHair quickly got on base with a leadoff single in the ninth and the Cubs seemed on the verge of sweeping a series after four straight series of being swept. But with both Soriano and Ian Stewart recording outs and Barney due up next, it felt like this one would go extras.

Darwin Barney came through in the clutch though. With the wind blowing in and being the second smallest guy on the team, he belted his second home run of the season (both in this series) just into the front row of the bleachers for the game winning walk-off homerun. It was a chilly afternoon in Chicago and Barney was probably shaking later thanks to Matt Garza dumping the water cooler on Barney during his postgame interview.

Series Studs: Alfonso Soriano, 4-for-11, 2HRs, 3Rs, 4RBIs; Web Gem in game two

Darwin Barney, 5-for-10, 6-runs, 5-RBIs, 2HRs including walk-off

Series Dud: Ryan Dempster, 4 1/3, 6ER, 3HR (2-2R HRs from Carlos Quentin)

Plays of the Series: Jeff Baker’s dive in 8th prevents tying run from scoring.

Darwin Barney’s walk-off homerun for the series sweep.

Next Up: @ San Francisco Giants May 31-June 3

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  • Lou

    OK Nice reporting Guys. I really wish that we could see some improvement with Castro. He is still getting up to the plate and letting strikes go by and then swinging at the low and outside pitches that are not in the strike zone. Most pitchers probably know by now that there is this “thing” about what is happenning with Castro. So, they have planned to approach him with a pitching plan to make the most of this situation.His fielding is outstanding………