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Wada struggles as Cubs fall to Padres

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:28 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Andrew Nelles)
The Cubs' Luis Valbuena (right) celebrates his three-run home run against the San Diego Padres with Anthony Rizzo, who scored, during the fourth inning Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

CHICAGO – When asked through a translator if he was nervous in his second big-league start, Tsuyoshi Wada said simply, "Yes."

It showed as Wada (0-1) allowed five runs on five hits and four walks in four-plus innings in an 8-3 loss to San Diego on Wednesday night.

The 33-year-old Japanese left-hander seemed shaky from the opening pitch in his first appearance at Wrigley Field, after allowing just one unearned run in a no-decision at Cincinnati on July 8.

The Padres scored two runs in the first, using a four-pitch walk to Chris Denorfia, triple by Yangervis Solarte and sacrifice fly by Carlos Quentin. Even if Chicago briefly tied the game at 3 on Luis Valbuena's three-run homer in the fourth, San Diego chased Wada in the next inning.

"I didn't have the control and overall wasn't as good as in Cincinnati," Wada said.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria saw pretty much the same thing.

"It seemed like he just didn't get into a rhythm," Renteria said. "When you watched him on the mound today, he was constantly fidgeting."

Tommy Medica hit a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth inning, Ian Kennedy pitched six strong innings as the Padres rolled to the win.

On a cool, unseasonably summer night in Chicago, Kennedy (8-9) won his third straight decision. He allowed three runs, three hits, while striking out six and pitching around a season-high five walks. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning.

"You've just got to tip your hat to (Kennedy), Renteria said. "We just weren't able to put enough together to win that ballgame."

Medica finished with three hits and drove in two runs for the Padres, who came into the game with baseball's worst batting average at .215.

The Cubs have lost 12 of their last 15 games.

The Padres added on to their early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Francoeur, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A El Paso before the game, singled in his major league season debut, then scored from first on Chris Nelson's double. He finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk a sacrifice fly.

Kennedy was unable to hold the 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. He allowed a pair of walks, then with two outs, Valbuena drove Kennedy's 0-1 pitch into the right-field bleacher to tie the game. It was Valbuena's sixth of the season.

Wada, who struggled with his control the entire night, walked the first two batters in the fifth. His night ended when Medica hit an RBI ground-rule double in the left-field ivy.

Reliever Brian Schlitter continued with the control problems for the Cubs. He walked Rene Rivera with the bases loaded to give the Padres a 5-3 lead.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Kennedy struck out NL home run leader Anthony Rizzo and got Starlin Castro to ground out to end the inning.

"If you make a mistake to (Rizzo) it will cost you quite a bit," Kennedy said. "It was a big at-bat in the whole game and it kind of stopped their momentum."

Pinch-hitter Seth Smith and Medica had RBI singles in the eighth for the Padres and Francoeur added a sacrifice fly.

Notes: On Monday, the Cubs promoted OF prospect Jorge Soler to Triple-A Iowa. Soler will join infielders Kris Bryant and Javier Baez in Iowa. "Our last big call was around the All-Star break. With Soler, we talked about the fact that he really looked like he was on a mission. He came off the DL (hamstring injury) without missing a beat. It was remarkable for him not to show any signs of rust, in fact the opposite. And he said, now is my time," said Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. ... Francoeur took outfielder Cameron Maybin's spot on the roster. Maybin was suspended 25 games Wednesday for testing positive for amphetamines.

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