Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres pursue series win over Cubs

Apr 26, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) runs to first after he hits a two RBI single against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres hope they have turned the corner following an extended rough stretch.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs need a positive end to their tough homestand that ends Thursday with the rubber match of a three-game series against the Padres.

After being held to five hits getting shut out for the fifth time in a 6-0 series-opening loss on Tuesday, San Diego recorded nine hits during a 5-3 win on Wednesday.

Fernando Tatis Jr. delivered a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning and added an RBI hit in the ninth to help the Padres earn their fifth victory in seven games following a 1-6 rut.

After an 0-for-5 performance in his 2023 debut on April 20, Tatis has hit safely in the next five games. The Wednesday contest was his first multi-hit game since returning from an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s illegal-substance policy.

“It feels great to be back,” Tatis told Bally Sports San Diego. “Just finding a way, finding a way. It’s been kind of a rough start for us, but we’re gonna get this going.”

Seth Lugo (2-1, 2.78 ERA) will make a fifth start to open his season for the Padres on Thursday. A prime reliever the past five years for the New York Mets, the right-hander started 18 games for New York in 2017, and amid injuries in San Diego’s rotation to open 2023, he is delivering in that role for the time being.

Lugo allowed two runs and six hits while walking one and striking out six over six innings on Friday at Arizona. However, the Padres’ offense managed just two hits and the Diamondbacks pulled away late to make him a hard-luck loser.

“Any other time, you give six innings like that and give up a couple runs, you’re certainly going to be in the game,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said.

Lugo is 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA in 12 appearances against the Cubs. He has made just two starts against them, in 2017 and 2018.

Chicago won four straight and 10 of 13 prior to the current seven-game homestand that began with three losses in four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Cubs lead the National League with an average of 5.65 runs per game, they have been held to three or fewer three times during the homestand.

With an RBI single on Wednesday, Chicago’s Nico Hoerner has reached base in a 21st straight game, and he is batting .340 for the season. Teammate Yan Gomes is 8-for-17 in his past four games, but Dansby Swanson is 2-for-27 in his past eight and Ian Happ is 3-for-17 in the past five.

“I think everybody is going to go through some ups and downs during the season,” Cubs manager David Ross said.

Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 6.23 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Cubs in the series finale. The rookie right-hander has had his issues thus far in 2023, and he allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday.

Wesneski, who has completed five innings just once in his four 2023 starts, will face the Padres for the first time. He will get his first look at Xander Bogaerts, who is batting .326 and has reached base in 28 straight games dating to 2022.

–Field Level Media

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