(Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs are trying to get out of the NL Central
basement as fast as they can and shoot for a series win Thursday afternoon in
the finale of a four-game set versus the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are three games behind Cincinnati for the fourth spot in the division
and have been playing well lately with five wins in the previous seven games.
They took a 2-1 series lead over the Padres with Wednesday's 6-2 triumph, as
starting pitcher Scott Feldman went the distance and allowed two runs and
Feldman was fortunate that the offense continued to click in the first
complete game of his career. The 12 K's were also a career best.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for a while," Feldman said of his
start. "It always seemed like my pitch count got up or I got taken out before
that could happen. I think originally the plan was for me to throw eight. I
went back and asked skip if I could get a crack at a (complete game)."
He did allow two home runs and pushed his mark to 2-3.
Dioner Navarro drove in two runs, while Feldman, Starlin Castro, Nate
Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena were each credited with an RBI for the Cubs, who
have scored at least five runs in every game this series. The Cubs still have
Cincinnati, Texas and St. Louis passing through Wrigley Field.
Travis Wood draws the start for Chicago and is 2-1 with a 2.25 earned run
average in five starts this season. He has proven his durability so far by
pitching at least six innings in every start and got the win in Saturday's 3-2
decision at Miami. He held the Marlins to two runs and three hits in six
innings and struck out five.
Wood has been reached for two runs in four straight trips to the hill and is
0-1 with a 4.21 ERA in five career meetings (4 starts) with San Diego.
San Diego entered Wednesday's game having won five of six games, but starter
Andrew Cashner was tagged for five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in four
innings. The former Cub also walked four and fanned only one batter.
"Cash just wasn't on tonight. He couldn't get any momentum started," Padres
manager Bud Black said. "There was no consistency there. He could never get in
Chase Headley and Jedd Gyorko both homered for the Padres. Headley is batting
.400 with 10 hits, two homers and three RBI in his last six games. He's also
nearing a contract extension with the club.
"We want him here. ... It's a priority to keep him here," Padres executive
chairman Ron Fowler said on the club's website.
The Padres will return home tonight for a six-game stand versus Arizona and
Miami at Petco Park.
Eric Stults has the duty of trying to cool off Chicago's bats when he takes
the hill for San Diego Thursday. Stults is 0-1 in his last two starts and has
given up 10 runs in that span. He recently took center stage in Saturday's 8-7
win over San Francisco and did not record a decision. He did, however, allow
five runs in a season low four innings.
Stults is 2-2 with a 5.67 earned run average in five starts and hasn't fared
too well in his career against the Cubs. The left-hander is 1-3 with a 5.21
ERA in this series.
Chicago and San Diego split six matchups a season ago and both teams posted
three-game sweeps as the host. The Cubs and Padres also split six meetings in
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