video thumbnail

SD@CHC: Headley goes 4-for-5, belts two home runs

CHICAGO -- During his playing days, Padres manager Bud Black used to rise each morning on trips to Chicago, amble over to the window of his hotel room and brush the sleep from his eyes before taking a long glimpse outside.

Black wasn't looking for rain. He wasn't even really looking to see if it was sunny. He was checking to see if the wind was blowing. If it looked windy, Black, the former Major League pitcher, knew it had the potential of being a long day at Wrigley Field.

Like a combined eight home runs long?

"I've been here long enough to know, with a day like this, there will be some runs scored," Black said. "Eight home runs? That's not surprising."

The Padres' offense, starving for runs and stuck in a 26-inning scoreless rut, found a cure for their bats on Monday, though it was their pitching that suffered most in an 11-7 loss to the Cubs before a crowd of 38,452 on a humid and blustery afternoon that made fly balls an adventure for outfielders.

And, in some instances Monday, souvenirs for fans in the bleachers.

The Padres (17-33) got four home runs -- two from Chase Headley as part of his four-hit day -- and it still wasn't enough, as Jeff Suppan allowed six runs and the bullpen yielded five more as the Cubs snapped their 12-game losing streak with four home runs of their own.

"You always have that element here, so you try to not give them a chance to drive the ball. And they did that today," Suppan said. "You can't say it's all that [conditions]. I still have to make my pitches. My job is to keep us in a game as long as I can."

Suppan actually did that, despite his third consecutive outing in which he allowed four or more runs. He stood to be the pitcher of record in this one after Will Venable's double in the sixth inning gave the Padres a tenuous 7-6 advantage.

That lead didn't last long, as the Cubs (16-32) went ahead for good in the bottom of the inning when Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run home run off reliever Alex Hinshaw (0-1) onto Waveland Avenue. Starlin Castro put the game out of reach with a two-run home run off Luke Gregerson in the seventh inning.

"When we walked out and saw the wind, I said, 'Oh, man, we've got a chance with the wind blowing out.' It was very good for the offense," Soriano said. "Sometimes when you're struggling, a day like today, so hot and warm, helps the team, and I think that's all we need today."

The Padres certainly needed some offense, especially on their 1-7 road trip, with two games remaining in Chicago. The team has been shut out three times on this trip and came to Wrigley Field without a run in its previous 26 innings.

That dubious streak ended quickly on Monday, as left fielder Carlos Quentin, who was reinstated from the disabled list before the game, hit an RBI double in the first inning. Quentin, in his first action with the Padres, went 1-for-4 with a walk and reported no soreness in his right knee, which he had surgery on in Spring Training.

"It's been rough, but it felt good to get back on the field," Quentin said. "I saw the ball decently and I thought I had competitive at-bats."

He wasn't the only one.

Headley, a switch-hitter, had a season-high four hits, including two right-handed home runs and then a double and single from the left side. Venable had two hits, including a home run. Shortstop Everth Cabrera, taking advantage of the windy conditions and warm air, even hit a home run -- his first of the season.

"You know when it's hot and you come here that you're going to be rewarded for a good swing," said Headley, who has seven home runs after hitting four a year ago. "You know it's going to be a back and forth game with a good amount of runs scored."

MLB.com Comments