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Greene 4-for-4 as surging Padres win eighth straight

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Sinking a week ago, the San Diego Padres are
suddenly respectable.

Khalil Greene went 4-for-4 to tie his career high and drove in
four runs to help the Padres beat the struggling Chicago Cubs 6-3
Sunday for their eighth straight win.

With Woody Williams throwing eight strong innings to bail out a
depleted bullpen, the defending NL West champs popped above .500
(16-15) for the first time since beating San Francisco on opening
day.

"This time last week we were kicking rocks," Williams said.
"We couldn't do anything right. We started playing better,
pitching good, getting timely hits and the defense has been
superb."

One week earlier, the Padres seemed headed for a sixth straight
loss when they scored five runs in the ninth inning and beat the
Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 in 10 innings.

"I don't think we could have gotten any lower for a while. It
was gross," Williams said. "No matter what we did, it just wasn't
good enough. Now, it seems like the little things are going our
way."

After that comeback win ended an otherwise dismal 3-7 homestand,
the Padres won a four-game swing through San Francisco and Los
Angeles, then took the first three of this four-game series.

"We talked about this many times, about being resilient,"
manager Bruce Bochy said. "The club has shown that. It was as
tough a streak as you can go through. Hopefully we don't see
something like that, but they bounced back."

Greene had RBI doubles in the first and fourth innings, then hit
a two-run single in the three-run fifth that helped carry Williams
(3-1) to his second straight win. Greene singled again in the
seventh. Rookie catcher Rob Bowen, who hit the game-winning homer
in the 10th inning Saturday night, had two hits, drove in a run and
scored twice.

The Cubs have lost six straight and nine of 11. They've been
outscored 54-9 in their last nine games. Chicago did manage to
score multiple runs in an inning for the first time in 81 innings.
Aramis Ramirez hit a solo homer as the Cubs scored twice in the
fourth to take a 3-2 lead.

But Greene tied it with his double in the fourth, and the
Padres, who needed extra innings to win the previous two games
against the Cubs, wrapped this one up in the fifth as they chased
rookie starter Angel Guzman (0-2).

"They're a hot club now," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of the
Padres. "They get what they want. They do a lot of things well.
It's been a long week here.

"We played a pretty good game," Baker added. "We had some
opportunities early. We made some fundamental mistakes."

Guzman issued consecutive one-out walks to Brian Giles and Mark
Bellhorn, bringing on Roberto Novoa. Bowen hit a go-ahead double to
right and Greene followed with a two-run single to left.

Cubs pitchers walked seven, including four in the fifth.

Greene is hitting just .226, but he leads the Padres with 20
RBI.

"I don't really get involved with the stat line," Greene said.
"It makes it easier when you come up with guys on base.

"Ultimately we're trying to win games and we've been winning,"
Greene said. "So me personally, whatever my struggles are up to a
certain point, it doesn't really affect me all that much, as long
as we're winning games and I feel somewhat involved in it."

Williams allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings. He
struck out five and walked one. Brian Sweeney pitched the ninth for
his first career save. Closer Trevor Hoffman was unavailable
because he pitched in the previous three games.

Hoffman, second on baseball's career list with 441 saves,
congratulated Sweeney.

"I thanked him for letting me have the opportunity," Sweeney
said. "If he needs a rest, I'll fill in for him."

San Diego jumped on Guzman for a 2-0 lead on three hits and a
walk in the first. Greene hit his first double and Giles had a
sacrifice fly.

San Diego native Jacque Jones hit an RBI single for the Cubs in
the second. Williams loaded the bases, then got Guzman to hit a
comebacker to start a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.

In the fourth, Ramirez homered for the second straight game,
hitting a 1-and-2 pitch into the seats in left to tie it at 2 with
one out. Matt Murton singled, Jones walked and Jerry Hairston
singled to right to score Murton and make it 3-2.

Guzman allowed five runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. He
struck out four and walked four.

Game notes
Chicago's last chance in the four-game series rests Monday
night with Greg Maddux (5-1, 2.35 ERA), who is off to his best
start ever. Maddux is 23-14 with a 2.97 ERA in 41 career starts
against San Diego.