The right-hander had to plead his case with manager Dale Sveum to pitch the ninth after throwing 100 pitches over eight innings.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for a while," Feldman said about getting a complete game. "It always seemed like my pitch count got up or I got taken out before that could happen. I think originally the plan was for me to throw eight. I went back and asked skip if I could get a crack at a [complete game]. I'm thankful he let me go back out there to try to get it and didn't take me out after I gave up that home run to [Chase] Headley."
Headley singled with two outs in the first and Feldman then retired 18 in a row before Carlos Quentin reached on an error by third baseman Luis Valbuena in the seventh. Jedd Gyorko spoiled the shutout bid when he hit his first big league home run leading off the eighth. Headley then connected with one out in the ninth.
"He more or less said he's never pitched a complete game before," Sveum said. "At 100 pitches, I was letting him go hitter to hitter."
"He was cool," Feldman said of Sveum.
The dozen strikeouts topped Feldman's previous high of 11 set Aug. 23, 2009, against Tampa Bay.
"That cutter was really chewing them up tonight," Sveum said. "That was about as pure and crisp as you can imagine out of a guy who doesn't throw 98 mph. That was pretty impressive."
Feldman walked only one and worked well with catcher Dioner Navarro, who chipped in with a two-run double.
"[Feldman] had a game plan to pitch the lefties in with the cutter and did so all night long," Sveum said. "He made his pitches, and even the ones he missed on were close and borderline."
He impressed the Padres.
"That's pitching like Chris Carpenter or Roy Halladay, that type of stuff -- bringing it back from inside and cutting it on the outside," Headley said. "When guys do that, sometimes you just have to tip your cap."
Padres manager Bud Black said Feldman mixed his pitches well.
"We just couldn't solve the movement," Black said. "He was hitting corners, but I think the thing that really got him to throw a complete game was the movement on the fastball, keeping us off-guard both in and away, and the timing with the slower breaking ball. We just couldn't muster any good swings against him."
Andrew Cashner took the loss in his third appearance and first start against his former team. Cashner, the Cubs' first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was traded to the Padres in a four-player deal Jan. 6, 2012, in exchange for Anthony Rizzo and Zach Cates. This was Cashner's second career start at Wrigley Field, and first as a visitor. It didn't go well. The right-hander was charged with five runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks over four innings. Rizzo had faced Cashner once before.
"He throws hard, I know that," Rizzo said.
Sveum tweaked the lineup, giving Alfonso Soriano a breather, dropping Starlin Castro from No. 2 to fifth and moving Valbuena up from seventh to third. Sveum said he had to be "creative" with Soriano out of the mix. It worked, as the Cubs won for the fifth time in seven games.
"You get a lot of lefties in there, you make him work a lot harder, and that's why left-handed-hitting is so important, [because it] makes a right-handed pitcher work and sweat a lot more rather than having right-hander after right-hander up there," Sveum said.
Cashner was going to his offspeed pitches more.
"When you have seven left-handers in the lineup, you can't keep pumping fastballs in there," Sveum said.
Julio Borbon, starting in left for Soriano, singled with one out in the first and eventually scored on Castro's single to center. Feldman hit his second career double and picked up his second career RBI with one out in the second.
"Just close my eyes and swing, that's my motto," Feldman said. "I wish I could've had a couple more hits."
"There's some bat speed there," Sveum said of the pitcher, who began the night with three career hits in 26 at-bats. "That was a big hit at that time, and it kind of got things going after scoring one in the first inning after having the bases loaded and Cashner on the ropes there."
Rizzo singled to open the third and stole second, and Castro was safe on a fielder's choice as the Padres failed to get Rizzo at third. One out later, Castro moved up on a wild pitch and both runners scored on Navarro's double into the gap in right-center.
Borbon walked in the fourth and then showed his speed when he reached third on a throwing error by Cashner on a pickoff attempt and scored on Luis Valbuena's groundout to make it 5-0. Borbon also made a diving catch of Kyle Blanks' fly ball for the second out in the sixth. Nate Schierholtz added a RBI double with one out in the seventh.
Feldman now has given up two earned runs or less in each of his last four starts, and he finally went the distance.
"Getting that first one -- I hope I can get more -- but at least now I can say I got one," he said.