CHICAGO -- A few minutes after his manager referred to him as "Scalesie," Bobby Scales was invited into the postgame interview room for the first time in his short -- but so far storybook -- big league career.
So the 31-year-old rookie finally has made it, right?"I don't know about that," he said, "but it sure is a step in the right direction."
• Ryan Dempster went seven-plus innings giving up two earned runs or less for second time in his last three starts. Dempster is 7-3 against the Padres.
• The Cubs swept the series and have won four straight.
• Adrian Gonzalez hit his 14th homer of the season. He has 22 home runs since September last year.
• San Diego is 4-19 since starting the season 9-3. They've dropped six straight and 13 of 15.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
After 11 years in the minors, Scales has made all the right steps since the Chicago Cubs called him up last week. He had a pair of two-run doubles in Thursday's 11-3 victory over the San Diego Padres, giving him at least one hit in each of his six major league games and lifting his average to .444."Scalesie is swinging the bat," manager Lou Piniella said. "He wants some playing time. He's taking advantage of it. It's a nice story."A made-for-TV story? Or maybe one headed directly to the big screen? It's not every day that a ballplayer who needs to supplement his income by working as a substitute teacher during the offseason makes an immediate impact in the big leagues."No, no, no, no," Scales said, laughing. "You're going to have to talk to my marketing people: my wife."Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game but couldn't prevent San Diego from losing its 11th straight on the road, its longest skid in 38 years. Afterward, Padres manager Bud Black held a brief closed-door meeting."We addressed a lot of things," he said. "Anytime you're mired in a funk like this, there's a lot of emotion that goes on. Frustration is one of them."Since getting off to a 10-6 start, the Padres are 3-16."We're trying but it's just not happening, so we have to make it happen," said Gonzalez, whose team was outscored 42-18 during its 0-6 road trip. "I think we can only go up from here."For one thing, San Diego pitchers could start throwing strikes. The Padres issued 10 walks Thursday -- seven by starter Chad Gaudin -- and lead the majors with 148 free passes.Meanwhile, Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (3-2) had one of his best games of the year, allowing two runs and three hits over seven innings. He also drove in two runs with a double and a single as the Cubs completed their first three-game sweep of the Padres at home since 1999."I've finally got an average. Yay!" said Dempster, who had been 0 for 17 without an RBI.Chicago, which has a four-game winning streak, matched its season high for runs despite playing without Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Milton Bradley. Ramirez is on the disabled list and the other sluggers were given the day off.Gonzalez's 14th homer made it 1-all in the fourth. He became the first batter this season to hit a ball over Wrigley Field's right-field bleachers and onto Sheffield Avenue.Gaudin (0-3), a former Cubs reliever who was bitter after being released during spring training, allowed only one hit and pitched out of some major jams in the first four innings. But he opened the fifth by walking the bases loaded and was relieved by Luis Perdomo, who walked Geovany Soto to put the Cubs ahead.Reed Johnson and Scales followed with consecutive two-run doubles, and Scales scored on Dempster's bloop single off Duaner Sanchez to make it 7-1.The Cubs added four more in the sixth on Scales' second two-run double, Aaron Miles' RBI single and Dempster's double into the gap.
Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs' $91.5 million ace, said he won't be bunting for hits when he comes off the DL next week. "For a month, I'll be running like Geo Soto, just taking my time," he said. Zambrano, who strained his left hamstring while legging out a bunt on May 3, is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start Sunday before returning to the Cubs' rotation May 22 at San Diego. ... Padres SS Luis Rodriguez, who sprained his left ankle Wednesday, is expected to go on the DL. ... Cubs OF Kosuke Fukudome is batting .462 during a seven-game hitting streak. ... Since Jake Peavy won April 16, San Diego starters are 0-12 with a 5.47 ERA.