Padres 5, Cubs 3

By Chris Rewers on Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heroes: Back-to-back two-out RBI doubles by Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs a brief 2-1 lead.

Goat: The usual reliable Sean Marshall (6-4) had his worst outing of the season at a ballpark other than Coors Field. After taking over for starter Carlos Zambrano to open the seventh inning, Marshall issued a leadoff walk and then gave up singles to four of the next five hitters.

Key Play: Will Venable's bases-loaded two-run single off Marshall snapped a 2-2 tie.

Comments: Later in the inning, with Justin Berg pitching, Venable on second and Chase Headley on third, Chris Denorfia hit a grounder to Ramirez. The Cubs third baseman caught Headley in a rundown between third and home. By the time catcher Koyie Hill tagged out Headley, Venable was standing on third and when he saw that no one was covering home he made a dash for the plate and scored.

Hill claimed after the game that he had signaled for time, but it is the player's job to make sure that a request for a timeout is acknowledged by the umpires. It was a head's-up play by Venable and made Hill look stupid, but the blame should be directed toward whoever should have been covering home - Berg or first baseman Xavier Nady.

In suffering their first-ever four-game sweep at Wrigley Field at the hands of the Padres (73-47), the Cubs managed just three runs in 26 2/3 innings against San Diego starters Kevin Correia, Jon Garland, Clayton Richard, and Mat Latos (13-5).

Zambrano allowed just one run and four hits over six innings, but it was a struggle. He walked six, struck out one, and worked from behind in the count constantly. Big Z threw first-pitch balls to 17 of the 28 batters (61 percent) he faced.

Next: The Cubs (50-72), losers of 18 of their last 22 and riding a seven-game home skid at the hands of first-place Cincinnati and San Diego, welcome another first-place team to town Friday (CSN, 1:20 p.m.). Derrek Lee is expected to make his debut for the NL East-leading Braves (71-50) and it will be interesting to see how the fans respond when he is introduced before his first at-bat.

Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.62 ERA) resumes his quest for a 15-win season when he opposes Atlanta right-hander Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 3.92).

Dempster has won each of his last three starts and has allowed just three earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (1.40 ERA) over that span.

The 24-year-old Jurrjens, who spent two months on the disabled list earlier this season because of a left hamstring injury, is 5-1 in nine starts since being reactivated. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three outings.

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