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Cubs 7, Padres 1: The ‘other split squad’ wins

The Cubs blasted three home runs and defeated the host Padres.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

I’ve made a lot of jokes here, when the Cubs put a not-so-great lineup on the field, wondering “Where is the other split squad playing?” Saturday night was one of those games, a lineup that looked like the Cubs were playing a spring road game in Goodyear, and it showed when the team had just two hits in losing.

Sunday afternoon against Padres lefthander Ryan Weathers, David Ross sent out five players who weren’t in Saturday’s lineup (Patrick Wisdom, Trey Mancini, Yan Gomes, Christopher Morel and Miguel Amaya) and, perhaps not coincidentally, the result was an 11-hit attack that included three home runs and the Cubs won their second game of this four-game set, 7-1 over the Padres.

The Cubs wasted no time hitting Weathers hard. Nico Hoerner led off the game with a double and one out later, a wild throw by Manny Machado on a ball hit by Ian Happ scored Nico [VIDEO].

The Cubs might have scored more in that inning. One out after Happ’s hit, on which he took second on the error, Wisdom singled to left [VIDEO].

I dunno, I watched that play like you did, from several different angles and it looked to me like Happ got his foot on the plate before he was tagged. But the play was ruled “call stands,” and so it stood 1-0 after one.

The Cubs wasted no time blasting Weathers out of the game in the second inning. Yan Gomes led off the inning with this home run [VIDEO].

The next hitter was Trey Mancini — back-to-back jacks! [VIDEO].

It had been a while:

The Cubs were not done in that second inning. Miguel Amaya followed with a single and Christopher Morel walked. A ground out to the right side moved the runners up a base, where Dansby Swanson doubled them both in to make it 5-0 [VIDEO].

Two more Cubs runs crossed the plate in the third. With one out, Gomes singled, and after Mancini struck out, Miguel Amaya smacked his first MLB home run [VIDEO].

That ball was crushed! [VIDEO]

Here’s hoping the Padres gameday staff helped get that ball back for Amaya, who would wind up going 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, and also reached by HBP in the ninth.

So Marcus Stroman had a huge lead to work with, unlike his last start, but he was still on autopilot for most of his six innings. A rare Nico Hoerner error helped lead to an unearned run off Stroman in the bottom of the third, but that was it off Stroman, who allowed just four hits and struck out six. Here’s a K of Juan Soto by Stroman in the fifth [VIDEO].

Stroman was also helped out by his defense. Check out this nice running grab by Happ in the third [VIDEO].

Here’s a complete look at Stroman’s outing [VIDEO].

The Cubs got good bullpen work in this one, too. Julian Merryweather threw a scoreless seventh and Michael Fulmer did the same in the eighth. Then Brandon Hughes was summoned to finish things off in the ninth and he wrapped things up 1-2-3 on just 13 pitches. Here’s the final out [VIDEO].

With this win and losses by the Reds and Cardinals Sunday, the Cubs moved into third place in the N.L. Central, though still 5½ games behind the division-leading Brewers. The Cardinals, incidentally, got swept by the Pirates this weekend and have the worst record in the National League and a record better than only the woeful Royals and A’s in all of MLB.

This series “wraps around” the weekend and concludes Monday evening at Petco Park, where the Cubs will have a chance at a series win. If they can do that, it would be the third straight year they would win a series in Petco. They’ve already won the season series from the Padres by taking Sunday’s game, leading that season series four games to two with one remaining. Kyle Hendricks will take the mound for the Cubs Monday evening and Blake Snell will go for the Padres — another lefthander, and with Sunday’s victory, the Cubs are 11-6 vs. LH starters this year. Game time Monday is 8:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.