Padres turn to Cashner against Cubs

Andrew Cashner looks to secure a series victory over a former club on Sunday afternoon as his San Diego Padres wrap a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs.

Cashner was the 19th overall pick of the 2008 draft by the Cubs and went 2-6 with a 4.29 earned run average over two seasons with the club, making 59 relief appearances and one start. He was traded to the Padres on Jan. 6 of last year.

He made five starts in 33 appearances with San Diego in 2012, but 21 of his 26 outings this season have been starts. He is 8-8 with a 3.74 ERA and has not allowed more than three earned runs in seven straight outings.

However, the righty has lost three games in a row as the Padres have been held to just five runs in that span. Cashner hurled seven innings on Monday versus Pittsburgh and allowed three runs in a 3-1 decision. Two of those runs were unearned.

"He threw the ball well tonight," said San Diego manager Bud Black about Cashner. "He had a bunch of ground balls tonight and only gave up five hits. He had some really easy innings tonight and I thought he was on top of his game."

The 26-year-old faced the Cubs for the first time as a starter on May 1 and took a loss, allowing four earned runs on six hits and four walks over four innings.

Chicago counters with left-hander Chris Rusin, who is 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA through seven starts this season.

Rusin has given up three runs or fewer six times this season, but has suffered back-to-back losses despite allowing just four runs over that time. In a 4-2 loss to Washington on Tuesday, Rusin yielded a pair of runs and a season-high 10 hits over 5 2/3 frames.

The 26-year-old has never before faced the Padres and is 2-0 this year in four road starts with a 2.11 ERA.

After failing to hold a 6-0 first-inning lead in Friday's opener, the Cubs held off the Padres on Saturday night to claim a 3-2 win.

Darwin Barney had three hits, including a solo homer and an RBI double, while Anthony Rizzo, sent from the Padres to the Cubs in the Cashner deal, also drove in a run.

Jeff Samardzija was big in his second straight lengthy outing. Coming off his second complete game of the year, Samardzija logged eight innings and gave up only one run in his last frame of work despite loading the bases with nobody out.

"Like I said last outing, getting strike one for him is huge," said Chicago manager Dale Sveum after his club snapped a four-game slide. "When he gets that, those are usually all his good games."

Samardzija gave up a sac fly to Yonder Alonso for the first out of the eighth and then got Jedd Gyorko to fly out. Following an intentional walk to Chase Headley because of a passed ball that moved runners up to second and third, Samardzija finished off his outing with his seventh strikeout of the contest, getting Logan Forsythe swinging.

"We were in position but we just couldn't get that one hit to give us the lead," said Black.

Will Venable had three hits and drove in a run, while Eric Stults allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings as San Diego fell to 4-5 on a 10-game homestand.

Chicago split a four-game set with the Padres earlier in the year.