BREAKING

Cubs fall inches short against Padres


by - Senior Writer -
The Cubs almost got another win against the Padres (Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports)
The Cubs almost got another win against the Padres (Orlando Ramirez - USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO - The actor Vin Diesel once said, "It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning." That held true Tuesday night at Petco Park, where the Chicago Cubs (10-19) looked to win their first series since early in the year against the San Diego Padres (20-11).

With Wade Miley making his much anticipated season debut, the Cubs played from behind several times only to even things twice. Down for a third time and heading into the ninth inning, the Cubs made it interesting as they pulled within one run and haded the bases loaded and two outs.

Looking to play hero was Frank Schwindel as he stepped to the batter's box against Taylor Rodgers. After surrendering his first earned run of the season earlier in the inning, Schwindel got a pitch to swing at and drove it deep into the San Diego night. What looked like a grand slam off the bat, turned into a routine flyout as the Pacific Air saw the Cubs lose by inches in a 5-4 defeat.

Miley wasn't the only starting pitcher looking to find his groove, as Mike Clevinger was making just his second start since coming off the IL. Across his 4 1/3 innings, Clevinger had moments of greatness as he walked two and struck out six. If not for his pitch count, he would have gone deeper and potentially earned his first win.

On the other hand, Miley was returning to the rotation for the first time this season after making one rehab outing last week. While his outing was filled with anticipation, Miley left fans wanting more as he allowed three runs in three innings but walked five hitters to go with one punchout.

If the first inning was going to indicate how things would go, fans should have expected the unexpected. For starters, singles by Rafael Ortega and Willson Contreras led off the game for the Cubs, but both men would be left standing in scoring position. Heading to the bottom of the first and you had Miley retire the first two hitters he faced before a walk and a pair of singles led to a 1-0 San Diego lead. Miley would walk two more hitters that inning, including Ha-Seong Kim, with the bases, loaded to give the Padres a 2-0 lead.

Both teams continued to have plenty of baserunners on in the second, but neither team was able to cash in as the Padres remained in front by two. Chicago finally got something going in the third inning, which started with a one-out Ian Happ single. Two batters later saw Alfonso Rivas come through with a home run in his hometown as the Cubs drew even 2-2.

Miley's command continued to be an issue in the third as he walked a pair of runners again to put himself in trouble as the Austin Nola single made things 3-2. That would be the end for Miley as Robert Gsellman was called on in relief. With things beginning to slow down in the fifth, the Cubs wanted to keep the pressure on Clevinger, which they did in a big way.

Not only did the Ortega single and Contreras walk get things going, but some aggressive baserunning by Ortega allowed him to steal third and forced an error on the throw as he came around to tie things up 3-3. That score held until the bottom of the sixth when Chris Martin entered, following a two-out double from Jake Cronenworth.

Martin allowed a single to Jurickson Profar to being his outing before the Machado double made things 4-2 and then 5-2 after an Eric Hosmer single. Despite not having a ton of chances against the San Diego pen up to this point, the Cubs had to go through Taylor Rodgers in the ninth, who was looking for his 12th save in 13 tries.

Not only that, but Rodgers had yet to allow an earned run as he has made teams look silly. Like the Padres in the bottom half of the sixth, it would take a two-out rally to make things interesting, with Seiya Suzuki starting that rally with a single.

A hit by a pitch to Contreras put two runners on base before Happ cashed in with a huge RBI to pull the Cubs within 5-4. Things only got worse for Rodgers and the Padres as he hit Patrick Wisdom to load the bases and gave the Cubs a chance to take the lead. Hoping to answer the call was Schwindel, who was coming off a terrible game on Monday.

The Cubs got precisely what they needed from Schwindel as the righty gave Rodgers a great battle. That battle ended with what looked like a grand slam heading over the left-field fence only to come up inches short as the Padres held on for the 5-4 win.

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