CHICAGO -- The Cubs made it two consecutive victories after ending their 12-game losing streak with a 5-3 triumph Tuesday over the San Diego Padres.
How it happened:Jeff Samardzija pitched well, ending a personal two-game losing streak, and the offense continued to show signs of life. Samardzija not only gave up three runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts, he also drove in a run in the fifth inning with a single. Shawn Camp offered Samardzija a little help in the eighth inning. He came on with the tying run at third base and nobody out and got a comebacker, line drive and fly ball to preserve the lead. James Russell got the final two outs for his first career save.
What it means: Samardzija continues to impress as a starter. He went a respectable 3-2 in six starts during the month of May but never allowed more than three runs in an outing. Tuesday was his fourth start this season with eight strikeouts or more. He struck out fewer than six batters just once in May. Samardzija could have easily been a perfect 6-0 in the month. He gave up one run in his no decision against the Brewers, just three runs in a defeat to the White Sox and just two runs in a defeat to the Astros.
Outside the box: Joe Mather appears to be getting his legs under him as a lineup regular. He had two hits, a walk and a run scored Tuesday while once again batting out of the No. 3 hole, a spot he has occupied since Friday at Pittsburgh. It is actually Mather’s third two-hit game since last Wednesday at Houston, the game before he was put in the No. 3 spot. While his lineup spot has been consistent over the last two series, he has started in center field and third base since the weekend.
Off beat: Alfonso Soriano seemed to turn back the clock in the sixth inning by making contributions on both offense and defense. In left field, he ended a run-scoring threat when he made a diving catch on a sinking line drive from Chris Denorfia and doubled off Eric Stults from second base to end the half inning. As the third batter up in the bottom of the sixth, Soriano crushed a home run to center field, his seventh. All of Soriano’s home runs have come since May 15.
Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.14 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday’s finale of a three-game series. The Padres will counter with right-hander Anthony Bass (2-5, 3.55) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.