clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs 5, Padres 2: Some home runs and, at last, the bullpen holds

The Cubs smashed three long balls and won the series from San Diego.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

This time, Cubs relievers did their job. With four innings to cover for Hayden Wesneski after he departed following a decent five-inning outing, Michael Fulmer, Mark Leiter Jr., Keegan Thompson and Brad Boxberger threw four innings and allowed two hits and a run. Combined with a power offense that featured home runs from Eric Hosmer, Nelson Velázquez and Dansby Swanson, it resulted in a 5-2 Cubs win over the Padres on an absolutely gorgeous afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Cubs thus took the series from a pretty good San Diego team after dropping three of four to the Dodgers.

The Padres struck first, in the second inning. Manny Machado, whose bat had been mostly silent in this series, homered off Wesneski with one out in the second.

That lead only lasted a few minutes, as with two out in the bottom of the second, Eric Hosmer deposited a ball into the bleachers [VIDEO].

That ball went a long way [VIDEO].

For those who don’t want the cool video:

Major League Baseball

Nelson Velázquez followed, giving the Cubs the lead [VIDEO].

In the three-game series, Velázquez went 3-for-9 with a double, the home run and two walks. I just don’t see the point in sending him back to Iowa when Cody Bellinger returns for the series in Miami. Velázquez could give each of the outfielders an occasional day off and DH from time to time, maybe play four games a week. Don’t tell me about “development.” He’s developed! He’s an Arizona Fall League MVP! He’s ready for MLB pitching — something Edwin Rios clearly isn’t, or he would have had some playing time during this series. Send Rios back to Iowa. Okay, off my soapbox.

The game remained 3-1 Cubs through the top of the fifth, at which time Wesneski was lifted after 74 pitches. I thought it was a good, not great, outing for Wesneski. He walked only one and allowed four hits, one of which was Machado’s homer. It was a good start to build on for the next one. He got some help from his fielders, too:

The Cubs extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Nico Hoerner singled with one out, advanced to second on a single by Dansby Swanson and scored on this single by Ian Happ [VIDEO].

So, then, bullpen. Michael Fulmer walked the first hitter he faced and it’s like, “Uh-oh.” But he settled down and retired the next three Padres in order, two by strikeout. That’s also a good confidence-building outing for him in a medium-leverage situation. Mark Leiter Jr. began the seventh with two quick outs, but then gave up a hit and walk and had to be relieved by Keegan Thompson, who got out of the inning thanks to this nifty play by Nick Madrigal [VIDEO].

Give Madrigal credit, he doesn’t have a lot of experience at third base, but played that one like he’d been there for years. Nice work.

The Cubs extended the lead to 5-1 when Swanson dropped this high fly ball into the left-field basket [VIDEO].

That’s Swanson’s first as a Cub, and no, it didn’t go very far, but far enough, and I’m sure he’s relieved to finally get the first one out of the way.

Thompson was touched up for a run in the eighth to make it 5-2, so it was up to Boxberger to nail things down. Again, a leadoff walk. Those drive me crazy, imagine how they make David Ross feel. Fortunately, Boxberger got pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz to hit into a double play and ended the game on this fly to left [VIDEO].

Other than the walks — five in all — the complaint department is closed for this one, a satisfying win that gave the Cubs an 8-8 record for the 16 home games played thus far, a huge number for this early in the season. That’s 20 percent of the home schedule done before April is over.

The Cubs will begin to balance that out with a seven-game road trip that begins with a three-game series against the Marlins in Miami. Marcus Stroman will start the series opener Friday and Jesus Luzardo will go for the Marlins. Game time Friday is 5:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.