Padres again sputter after early jump

Padres sputter after early jump

CHICAGO -- The way the Padres are going, even jumping to a quick lead only sets them up for disappointment.

Adrian Gonzalez continued a personal home run binge with two more deep flies, including a two-run shot in the first inning for the second straight night, but Chris Young allowed a career-high four homers and the Cubs sent the Padres to their fifth straight defeat, 6-4, in an eight-inning game called early because of rain Wednesday.

The Padres need another shortstop because they lost Luis Rodriguez to a sprained ankle in the seventh inning. X-rays taken at a local hospital were negative, but the Padres expect to place him on the disabled list Friday. They will play a man down in Thursday's series finale, with Chris Burke likely to get the start.

Little about the stormy evening at Wrigley Field pleased Padres manager Bud Black, who tersely but "respectfully disagreed," he said, with the decision of crew chief Tim Welke to terminate the game before the Padres got their last ups.

The start of the game was delayed 37 minutes because of rain, and another delay -- a comical four minutes long, complete with the tarp being rolled halfway across the infield before being put back -- struck in the sixth. The last delay lasted 58 minutes, and more threatening weather in the area probably influenced the umpire's decision to call it.

"I respect Tim Welke immensely," Black said. "I [simply] would like to see a baseball game played nine innings. As would he. But he felt, based on educated information, that it was the best thing to do."

Young (2-2) was upset with himself because he was unable to hold down the Cubs after Gonzalez -- who has homered in three straight games and is tied for the Major League lead with 13 homers -- gave the Padres another fast lead.

Alfonso Soriano and Ryan Theriot hit back-to-back homers to lead off the bottom of the first, and Geovany Soto added an RBI single. Young needed 39 pitches to complete the inning.

"Mechanically, I wasn't very good," Young said. "Against a lineup like that it's hard to come out and not have your best stuff. It's a good lineup, and they punished some bad pitches."

Soto hit a two-run homer in the third, and Theriot added a solo shot -- his career-high fifth of the season already -- in the fourth.

Young downplayed how small Wrigley Field plays when the wind blows out -- which it was, 14 mph to center -- in helping the smallish Theriot reach the seats twice.

"Irrelevant," Young said. "When I made good pitches, I got outs. Ted Lilly pitched in the same ballpark tonight. I didn't make enough good pitches, and they crushed the bad ones I made."

Young threw 102 pitches over four innings, allowing six runs, six hits and three walks. His ERA rose to 5.56. Padres starters still haven't won a game since April 16, going 0-11 since Jake Peavy beat the Mets.

Other than the first home run to Gonzalez, Lilly (5-2) was solid in leading the Cubs to their third straight victory. He praised Gonzalez, who also homered in the sixth, in listing his own keys to success.

"One of them was I didn't have to face Adrian Gonzalez nine times," Lilly said. "It would've been great if he would've hit a couple line-drive base hits. He's obviously pretty locked in at the plate. The pitches weren't really executed, but at the same time, he's taking advantage of it. He's a pretty impressive hitter."

Black dropped Brian Giles -- who hit leadoff in Tuesday's series opener -- to seventh in the order, the first time he's hit that low since 1998. Giles, who came in batting .161, went 1-for-3 with a walk and could have been 3-for-3.

"It doesn't really change if I hit one, nine or seven," said Giles, who usually hits third. "I feel my strength as a hitter is the knowledge of the strike zone, and that doesn't change no matter where I hit."

It seems hard to believe the Padres started the season 9-3. They have gone 4-18 since. Giles said the whole team seems to be pressing.

"When it's going the way it's going, you try to push on the gas a little bit more," Giles said. "We just need to concentrate on playing the game the way it's supposed to be played. The whole thing is frustrating."

Rodriguez pulled up lame after rounding first base on a single in the seventh. Black said that Burke, David Eckstein and Edgar Gonzalez are options at short, but that general manager Kevin Towers probably was working on bringing someone else in.

David Brown is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.