Homers power Padres to series win over Cubs

Homers power Padres to series win over Cubs

CHICAGO -- Yangervis Solarte's two-run home run in the seventh inning gave the Padres some breathing room on Sunday in their 5-2 victory over the Cubs before a crowd of 29,113 at Wrigley Field.

San Diego pitcher Andrew Cashner allowed two runs, both unearned, on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Cashner hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 12 innings.

"When they stress our starter early, his pitch count was up, really proud of Cash the way he hung in there and gave us six innings when we needed length from the starter," said Padres manager Bud Black of Cashner, who allowed the two runs in the first inning.

Chicago pitcher Jon Lester, who signed a six-year, $155 million deal in the offseason, allowed three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

"He gave us a solid chance to win today. We couldn't get the hit when we needed it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Solarte's home run helped the Padres secure the series victory, as they took two-of-three games from the Cubs.

More to the left: The Padres, who entered Sunday's game with a big league-best .343 average against left-handed pitchers, got a bolt in the second inning when Will Middlebrooks jumped on a pitch from Lester, sending a two-run home run over the fence in left, a 413-foot home run, his third of the season.

Middlebrooks' two-run homer

A web gem: After Lester fielded a Clint Barmes grounder back to the mound in the second inning, the baseball became stuck in Lester's glove. So, Lester heaved the entire glove -- with ball still inside -- at first baseman Anthony Rizzo to get the out. Rizzo dropped his own glove to catch Lester's. The crowd roared its approval. More >

Lester tosses ball, mitt for out

Making it count: Will Venable has been squeezed out of playing time by the addition of outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers this season. But with Upton resting his strained left quad, Venable got a start in left and came up with the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth, his third hit of the season.

Venable's go-ahead single

Not much late: The Cubs came up with three hits and two runs in the first inning, but little after that. They managed four more hits, in the third, fifth and ninth innings.

Soler's RBI single

"I think he [Black] was giving me a chance to breathe, to collect myself a little, give me a chance to get back to making pitches. It was a chance to save another run from coming in. I think that was one of the bigger spots in the game today," -- Cashner, on a first-inning mound visit by Black after two errors led to two unearned runs

The Padres have made it clear: They don't want leadoff hitter Myers to change the way that he approaches an at-bat just to fit what a prototypical leadoff hitter would do; see pitches, take walks, focus on on-base percentage. Well, it took 54 plate appearances, but Myers took his first walk in the fifth inning Sunday.

Cashner has been very good at times, has struggled at others and, to be sure, has been a bit unlucky. Of the first 10 unearned runs the Padres have allowed this season, seven have happened during Cashner's starts, including two Sunday. More >

Black was ejected from the game in the top of the second inning by the plate umpire, James Hoye, for, presumably, arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It was his second ejection of the season and 23rd since becoming manager in 2007.

Black ejected in the 2nd

The Cubs' Kris Bryant got his first career extra-base hit, a double to center in the fifth inning off Cashner. Bryant was also hit by a pitch for the first time in the Majors in the third inning. The third baseman, the No. 2 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, was promoted from Triple-A on Friday.

"It's not always about getting hits. His at-bats just kept getting better," Maddon said. "The bat speed's really good. More than anything, the fact that he maintained a structured strike zone and would not get out of his own zone, he was just fine."

Bryant's double

Padres: Odrisamer Despaigne gets the start Monday as the Padres open a four-game series at Coors Field against the Rockies. First pitch is set for 5:40 p.m. PT.

Cubs: Chicago opens a four-game road series against the Pirates on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Starter Jake Arrieta will pitch his first road game of the season.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.