Venable uses bat, legs to lead Padres past Cubs 5-3
CHICAGO – Will Venable hit a two-run single in the seventh inning and the San Diego Padres rallied to beat the Cubs 5-3 Thursday, completing their first four-game sweep of Chicago in their 42-year history.
The four-run seventh — capped by Venable's dash home when the Cubs weren't paying attention to him — made a winner of Mat Latos and helped the NL West-leading Padres to their 10th victory in 11 games.
The Cubs lost their seventh straight at home, their longest skid at Wrigley Field since 2006.
Latos (13-5) had a career-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings, yielding two runs and five hits. The right-hander was working on a one-hitter before the Cubs pushed across two runs in the sixth, taking a 2-1 lead on consecutive RBI doubles by Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez.
Carlos Zambrano pitching six effective innings despite walking six, limiting San Diego to four hits before he was replaced by Sean Marshall (6-4).
Marshall immediately got into trouble, issuing a leadoff walk to Miguel Tejada in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Ludwick and Chase Headley then singled, with Ludwick's hit tying it at 2.
Yorvit Torrealba popped out with the bases loaded but Venable then lined an 0-2 pitch into center field to put the Padres up 4-2 and send Headley to third.
Chris Denorfia followed with a grounder to third baseman Ramirez, who threw to catcher Koyie Hill. Headley was caught a rundown, letting Venable go from second to third, and was chased almost all the way back to third before Hill tagged him. Hill then tagged Venable, who was standing on the bag and was called safe.
As Hill started walking slowly toward the mound, Venable took off for home. He scored under the tag of first baseman Xavier Nady, who was covering the plate and took Hill's late throw.
Thousands in the season-low announced crowd of 30,687 booed the home team, which lost for the 18th time in 22 games.
Before allowing four runs in one-third of an inning, Marshall had a 0.96 home ERA and had held opponents scoreless in his previous 14 appearances at Wrigley.
The Padres last swept the Cubs in 2006 but that was only a three-game series. They have outscored opponents 58-23 during the 10-1 run that has put them in control of their division.
The 22-year-old Latos has allowed two runs or fewer in a team-record 12 straight starts and has permitted as many as three runs only four times all season. He is 12-2 with a 1.62 ERA since May 7.
He was at his best Thursday in the fourth inning, when he struck out Byrd, Ramirez and Nady on 10 pitches.
Heath Bell allowed Blake DeWitt's RBI single in the ninth but still earned his 24th consecutive save and 37th in 40 attempts this season.
NOTES: The Cubs called up OF Sam Fuld from Triple-A Iowa to take the roster spot of 1B Derrek Lee, who was traded to Atlanta for prospects on Wednesday. The Cubs had told 1B Micah Hoffpauir he was being promoted, but because they just sent him down Monday he isn't eligible to come back up until next week. ... The Padres placed CF Tony Gwynn Jr. on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in right hand. ... Bell hadn't given up a run to the Cubs in 18 innings dating back to July 16, 2006. ... With Lee gone, Cubs OF Tyler Colvin will start taking grounders at first base, a position he last played when he was in college.