SAN DIEGO -- The Padres are fighting for a playoff spot while the Cubs' Ryan Dempster has a chance to finish with 16 wins. Alfonso Soriano can post some of his best numbers since signing with Chicago. And, Mike Quade is trying to get a little job security.That's what remains in the Cubs' final five games. Soriano smacked a tiebreaking two-run homer and added a solo shot to back Dempster and lift Chicago to a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night over the Padres, who are scrambling. The loss, coupled with the Giants' win over the D-backs, lowered San Francisco's magic number to four. "They're far from dead, I guarantee you that," Quade said of the Padres. Dempster (15-11), who will start the season finale on Sunday against the Astros, has reached 15 wins for the third time in his career. He's the third Canadian-born pitcher with at least three 15-win seasons, joining Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and Russ Ford. "He was effectively wild," San Diego's Nick Hundley said of Dempster. "You couldn't sit there and be comfortable." The Cubs' right-hander struck out nine over seven innings, including three in a row in the seventh when the Padres had two on and none out. He admitted he was pumped when pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba swung and missed a nasty slider to end the inning. "When you play, you play for those exciting times," Dempster said. "It's nice to come out on the winning side." The Cubs now are 21-11 under Quade with five games to go. Is there anything else he has to do to convince general manager Jim Hendry he should stay as manager in 2011? "Just do my job for the next week and that's the God's honest truth," Quade said. "I'm dying to play well these next three days and then go to Houston and play well and take a breather for a week or so and see what happens this winter. "The season's not over until it's over -- it's not over for the players, whether you're playing for a pennant or doing what we're doing. We have to make sure none of us quit, none of us get too comfortable. I've said all along, I'm motivated by fear of failure and we'll just keep grinding right on through Sunday." These last few days aren't nerve-wracking for Quade, who has made the transition from third-base coach to manager look smooth, including his dealings with the media. "You've got to be honest, say what you need to say, make your adjustments and move on," he said. "You do that for 162 [games] and that's what you do. I hope I get to keep doing it, and that's the only way to approach it." He's got the players' vote. "He's done a great job," Dempster said. "He's been very upfront and very honest with all of us and he's been tremendously supportive. ... I hope he's here longer than this year. I hope he's managing for us next year because he deserves it. He's done everything they've asked and he's done a great job with us and everybody likes him." He's also quick with a quip. Carlos Marmol picked up his 36th save and third in the last four games. Asked if Marmol was available Wednesday, Quade said no. "You have a better chance of seeing me with hair tomorrow," he said. The top defensive team in the National League, the Padres made two errors in the fifth to help the Cubs take a 2-0 lead. Koyie Hill bunted with one out and was safe as Mat Latos (14-9) couldn't pick up the ball. Hill advanced on Dempster's sacrifice and scored on Kosuke Fukudome's double. Starlin Castro hit an infield single to shortstop Miguel Tejada, whose throw to first was wild. Fukudome scored on the error. San Diego tied the game in their half on Hundley's two-run homer with one out. But Xavier Nady singled to lead off the sixth and Soriano connected on his 23rd home run to go ahead, 4-2. Soriano added No. 24 leading off the eighth for his third multihomer game of the season and 26th of his career. He now has 78 RBIs, his highest total in four seasons with the Cubs. His only goal this year was to avoid the disabled list. "I know what I have to do to stay healthy next year and I want to do the same things this year and put up better numbers," Soriano said. He's a good role model for some of the rookies. "I can show to the younger players it's very important to finish strong," Soriano said. "If you finish strong, it's good for the next year." The same is true for Quade. Since being upgraded from third-base coach, he now gets a suite in the team hotel on the road. "That is one of the perks," Quade said. "To be honest with you, I was like, 'Just give me a room.' I had a friend of mine who called and said, 'Don't be an idiot. You spent a lot of years doing what you're doing and this is what they're doing and take advantage of it.' That's all it took." Players talk about how the balls are cleaner and the clubhouse spread is nicer when they get called up to the big leagues. "We used to complain about riding 12 hours or 14 hours from Jacksonville to Memphis," Quade said. "I'll be darned if I'll complain about anything up here."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.