CHICAGO – Several defensive lapses by the Cubs spoiled a great performance by starter Travis Wood.
Yonder Alonso’s two-out fly ball to right field dropped in front of Julio Borbon for an RBI single and catcher Welington Castillo failed to hustle on a passed ball that allowed another to score in a four-run eighth inning, boosting the San Diego Padres over the Cubs, 4-2, on Thursday for a four-game series split.
“I don’t know, I just get [it] off of my mind, [mental] mistake,” Castillo said about play. “I want to apologize to my teammates for doing that, that’s not going to happen anymore. I feel like I lost the game. I’m the one that has to keep everyone in the game and I just got out of the game.”
Wood (2-2) retired his first 14 batters before Kyle Blanks singled, and he led 2-0 when Jesus Guzman reached on an infield single leading off the eighth.
San Diego went ahead with just one hard-hit ball in the inning, taking advantage of two infield hits, and the two defensive miscues.
Wood appeared to have gotten himself out of a jam in the eighth before Borbon missed the fly. Jesus Guzman started the inning with a single and Blanks followed with a walk. But Jedd Gyorko flied out and Nick Hundley fouled out.
Yonder Alonso, pinch-hitting for Joe Thatcher, lofted a ball to right on the windy afternoon. Second baseman Darwin Barney backpedaled and Borbon sprinted in. Borbon called for the ball, Barney peeled off, and the ball fell just in front of Borbon’s outstretched glove as Guzman scored.
“It’s a ball that I felt I should’ve caught,” Borbon said. “It’s just one of those you look at the conditions and also getting used to it. It’s a matter of just that extra second of maybe Barney recognizing it and either calling me off or him being able to get out of the way.”
Borbon entered at the start of the inning as a defensive replacement for Scott Hairston, who had put the Cubs ahead with a two-run homer in the seventh off Eric Stults. Borbon was making his third big league appearances in right, all since joining the Cubs on April 19.
Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 72/3 innings. He has won only two of six starts despite a 2.50 ERA.
“He pitched well,” Padres manager Bud Black said of Wood. “Made pitches. Everything you ask out of a starter. He made his pitches when he needed them, got good defense behind him when he needed it. Unfortunately for them it kind of fell apart a little bit. We just kept going and took advantage of it.”
Shawn Camp relieved and his first pitch to Chris Denorfia was inside and bounced off the glove of Castillo, who failed to hustle after it as the ball rebounded off the brick ball. Blanks at first hesitated, then ran home with the tying run. Denorfia then walked.
The Cubs went to the bullpen once again and James Russell allowed a ground single to center to Everth Cabrera to give the Padres 3-2 lead, San Diego’s first lead since Tuesday. Chase Headley followed with a slow roller past the mound toward second and reached on a run-scoring infield hit.
“You never give up in this game,” said Stults. “Wood pitched good for the first seven innings in this game and we just kept battling. We got a couple runners on and got a big break there with the ball falling between Barney and Borbon there and the wild pitch and we added a couple more. That’s just the sign of a team that keeps battling, keeps playing hard and that’s what this team does and that’s what we do.”
Stults allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He had been 0-3 with a 7.24 ERA at Wrigley Field.
Dale Thatcher (2-0) got one out for the win. Huston Street allowed a two-out double to Nate Schierholtz in the ninth, then struck out pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena for his sixth save in six chances.
NOTES: Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo was the only left-handed hitting position player in either lineup in a game started by two left-handed pitchers. ... Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said he felt “great” after his rehab outing Wednesday at Double-A Tennessee. Garza, who threw 42 pitches in his first appearance since July 21, is expected to pitch again Monday for Triple-A Iowa and will be evaluated after his third start to determine whether he is ready to return from the disabled list. ... The Padres recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from Tuscon and optioned rookie LHP Robbie Erlin to the Triple-A team. Boxberger appeared in 24 games last year for San Diego, going 0-0 with a 2.60 ERA. ... Cubs RHP Kyuji Fujikawa threw before Thursday’s game and is expected to pitch Sunday for Triple-A Iowa. Fujikawa has been on the DL since April 13 with a right forearm strain. ... Black said the proposed renovations to Wrigley Field would be welcomed but he also praised the visitor’s clubhouse for its “coziness.” He said he likes the smell of the tunnel to the field, though he said it “isn’t very good.”