Cubs 5, Padres 2

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit his 23rd and 24th home runs of the season to raise his batting average to .257 and his slugging percentage to .501.

Goat: Blake DeWitt (0-for-4) was the only starter other than pitcher Ryan Dempster to not get a hit.

Key Play: Soriano crushed a first-pitch fastball from San Diego starter Mat Latos (14-9) to straightaway center with a man aboard in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie.

Comments: The Cubs (72-85) dealt another major blow to San Diego's playoff chances. The Padres (87-70) fell two games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West and 1.5 games behind wild-card leading Atlanta.

The Cubs won their eighth straight on the road and their 10th in their last 11 games away from Wrigley Field. They are 16-3 in road games since Aug. 14.

Dempster (15-11) allowed four hits over seven innings while striking out nine and walking two. His only blemish was the two-run, game-tying homer he allowed to Nick Hundley in the fifth inning. It was the 24th home run served up by the 33-year-old right-hander this season, but only the fourth since July 30.

Carlos Marmol struck out one and walked one in the ninth to nail down his 36th save of the season. The 84 MPH slider Marmol fired for a game-ending strikeout of Hundley was a thing of beauty. The 27-year-old Dominican right-hander, who has five blown saves this season, has converted 15 straight save opportunities. He has not allowed a run in his last 16 2/3 innings and has a 1.42 ERA since Aug. 21.

Andrew Cashner contributed a scoreless eighth inning. The 6-foot-6 rookie right-hander from Conroe, Texas has a 10.80 ERA in July and seemed to be over-relying on his blazing fastball. Lately, Cashner has complemented that heat (he topped out at 100 MPH on Tuesday) with an effective slider. In 16 appearances since Mike Quade took over as interim manager on Aug. 23, Cashner has held the opposition scoreless 13 times. He is 1-1 with nine holds and a 1.59 ERA.

Relievers have posted a 1.40 ERA in the Cubs' last 20 games, dating back to Sept. 6.

Next: Randy Wells (8-13, 4.28 ERA), who starts for the Cubs on Wednesday (CSN, 9:05 p.m.), is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA in his last five starts.

The Padres will counter with 6-10, 280-pound right-hander Chris Young (1-0, 1.20 ERA) who will be making his fourth start after missing most of the season with a strained pitching shoulder.

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