CHICAGO (MCT) — The dog days have arrived early for the Chicago Cubs.
Manager Rick Renteria insists his players will not lose their team-oriented focus and selfishly seek to pad their personal stats despite being in last place, 18 games below .500 with more than two months remaining.
“I don’t worry too much about that, I will be honest with you,” Renteria said as the San Diego Padres trounced the Cubs 13-3 Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
The Padres erupted for nine runs in the sixth inning, sending 15 batters to the plate as 31,321 fans cheered derisively when the inning mercifully ended.
The Padres took two out of three from the Cubs, who have lost 13 of their last 16 games. The Cubs (41-59) are 0-4-1 in their last five series at Wrigley Field.
“We tried everything we could to minimize the damage. But it ended up kind of escalating no matter who we used,” Renteria said. “It seems like anything that can go wrong has gone wrong in the last couple of weeks. So we have to regroup.”
Edwin Jackson (5-11) sought his first career victory against the Padres, but instead took the loss to fall to 0-6 lifetime against them. The Padres touched him for a pair of runs in the first inning and he left in the sixth inning when he experienced cramping in his right hand.
“He’s fine now,” Renteria said. “He kept shaking it out. It was just best to go ahead and not to take a chance.”
Jackson retired the first two batters he faced before the wheels began to come off. Seth Smith singled before Yasmani Grandal tripled. Will Venable followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Cubs pulled to within 2-1 in the fourth, but stranded runners at second and third. Luis Valbuena singled home a run after Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro opened the inning with singles to put runners on the corners.
Rene Rivera homered leading off the fifth to give the Padres a 3-1 advantage.
Jackson left the game with two men on and nobody out in the sixth inning with the cramping in his right hand. Brian Schlitter came on in relief, and the situation grew much worse.
The Padres went ahead 8-1 before Renteria lifted Schlitter in favor of lefty Wesley Wright with the bases loaded and no outs. By the end of the inning, the Padres led 12- 1 and starting pitcher Tyson Ross (9-10) was on cruise control.
The Cubs scored a pair of consolation runs in the eighth inning. Rizzo extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games with a base hit in the fourth inning.
“At a time like this you have to encourage these guys to continue to push,” Renteria said. “That’s my message to them, to keep playing. It’s not like we’re not trying to do what we’re supposed to do. They have two months left and this is where we can learn a lot about ourselves.”
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