Defensive miscues prove costly for Cubs
Chris Coghlan homered twice – including once in the ninth against closer Craig Kimbrel – and Jason Hammel turned in another dominant start, but defensive errors cost the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night in a 4-3 series-opening loss to the San Diego Padres.
San Diego (20-20) scored twice in the bottom of the eighth, trailing 2-1, when catcher Derek Norris doubled into the left-field corner against Chicago set-up man Pedro Strop, scoring Clint Barmes and Cory Spangenberg, who reached against left-hander James Russell earlier in the frame.
Chicago (21-17) scored twice in the third when Coghlan and Dexter Fowler each clubbed solo home runs off San Diego right-hander James Shields, who did not factor into the decision, despite striking out 11 in seven innings of work.
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His counterpart, right-hander Jason Hammel, allowed two unearned runs in seven innings of work, lowering his earned run average to 2.70 on the season, striking out eight and walking none.
The Padres answered back in the bottom of the fifth when Yangervis Solarte singled, scoring Justin Upton and cutting the Cubs’ lead to 2-1. Will Venable accounted for the second Padres’ tally in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single that plated Solarte.
Chicago made a trio of errors on the night, with Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro and Addison Russell all being charged with one in the loss. It was a particularly bad night for the Cubs’ shortstop Castro, who made an error and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
As a team, the Cubs struck out 14 times, drawing just one walk in the process. Chicago was also 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00) will look to impress in his first start of the year for Chicago on Wednesday night at PETCO Park. The left-hander will be opposed by San Diego righty Tyson Ross (2-3, 3.94) and first pitch is set for 9:10 p.m. CT.