Padres silenced in series finale with Cubs

Padres silenced in series finale with Cubs

SAN DIEGO -- There was a time not very long ago when the Padres not only wanted to play a game every single day, but they'd have played as many as they could get in every day because things were going so well.

At the moment, a day off at home sounds pretty darn good to them.

Sick, tired and beaten down by the team that replaced them as the National League's hottest club, the Padres took a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Cubs in stride Sunday, looking forward to the second week of their 13-game homestand -- after that day off Monday.

With Sunday's loss, the Padres have gone from 22-6 in May to 1-4 in June, and they have lost four of their first seven of this homestand -- or as many as they had lost in their first 20 home games.

Yeah, they could probably use a day to take a breather and get over the flu-like bug that has shrouded the clubhouse in recent days.

Perhaps by the time they return for Tuesday's opener against Cleveland, the likes of Brian Giles, Ryan Klesko and Geoff Blum will be on the field and feeling healthy after none of them were this weekend. On Sunday, only Giles was in the lineup among those three, and he wasn't at 100 percent.

"It's always hard when you lose some core players," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully, with the day off we'll have time to recover and get all the guys back on the field."

On Sunday, however, there wasn't much that was going to be done about the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano, no matter who the Padres had in the lineup.

"Zambrano's tough, and he's been throwing great lately," Bochy said.

While Woody Williams gave the Padres five good innings in his first start off the disabled list, the other side of the pitching equation -- namely, Zambrano -- was the problem for the Padres in Sunday's series finale.

Zambrano allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings against the Padres, and red-hot Derrek Lee helped provide the support for him with a 3-for-5 day to lead the Cubs at the plate. The result gave the visitors three out of four in the extended weekend series.

All three of the Padres' hits off Zambrano (4-3) were singles, two struck by Sean Burroughs from the No. 2 hole in the lineup.

"The way he was throwing the ball and the way he pitched when he had to, the cards were probably in their favor today," said Padres cleanup hitter Phil Nevin, who took an 0-for-3 against Zambrano but salvaged a 1-for-4 day with a single in the ninth off Ryan Dempster.

The Padres had a couple of chances against Zambrano, but couldn't convert.

   Dave Roberts  /   LF
Born: 05/31/72
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

The first one came right off the bat in the first, when Zambrano walked the first three batters he faced. But Dave Roberts was caught stealing on a busted hit-and-run with Burroughs at the plate, Nevin popped out and Ramon Hernandez struck out.

Another good chance to get to Zambrano came in the sixth, when Roberts and Burroughs hit back-to-back singles to lead it off. But the heart of the Padres' order couldn't get a ball out of the infield after that, and the would-be rally was snuffed.

"We had a couple of chances there, but he can turn it up a notch, which he did," Bochy said.

In the sixth, for instance, the Padres had two runners in scoring position with Nevin, their cleanup man, at the plate. But Zambrano turned loose a 96-mph fastball with movement to strike out Nevin.

Williams, meanwhile, gave up a pair of doubles in the fourth to give up the one run he allowed, but overall was pretty much everything the Padres hoped he'd be.

Williams (2-3) allowed just one run on four hits in his five innings of work, his first outing since going on the disabled list May 2 with a strained left oblique. Williams might have been making a Minor League rehabilitation start Sunday, but instead made this start in place of Jake Peavy, who was hit hard by the rampant illness.

"I thought he threw great," pitching coach Darren Balsley said of Williams, who left shortly after his outing was finished to attend to a personal issue. "Stamina was the thing I was most concerned about going in, but he didn't show any signs of tiring from the third to the fifth."

Said Bochy: "With his experience, I didn't think he needed a rehab start. I thought he showed that today."

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.