What A Relief: Padre Pitching Stunts Cubs

Peoria, AZ – Courtesy of sharp starting pitching by John Hussey and stingy relief appearances, the Padres' extended spring training squad held on to the edge the Cubs 8-6.

Geoff Vandel yielded one unearned run in the top of the fifth after a missed catch by Mike Epping put a runner on third with one out. After striking out the next batter on a changeup – clearly the favorite pitch in his repertoire – Vandel surrendered an RBI double to deep centerfield before freezing the next batter on another changeup to end the inning.

Tyler Mead retired six of the seven batters he faced, allowing one walk and whiffing one while throwing just 18 pitches. Mead displayed only an average fastball but excelled with his changeup, throwing it for strikes on all counts. The Cubs shied away from Mead's slider in the sixth, drawing a five-pitch walk, but Mead adjusted nicely in his second inning of work.

Vantroit Medina bore responsibility for the Cubs' four remaining runs (two unearned) in the top of the eighth, the one inning in which the Padres collapsed defensively. After Cliff Anderson singled and reached second on a throwing error by Juan Senreiso (he's back) to leadoff the inning, Cody Gilbert grounded to third-baseman Edgar Garzon on a hit-and-run. Instead of tagging the lead runner, Garzon threw to first and allowed Anderson to reach third with one out. Anderson scored on a single to centerfield.

A walk put runners at first and second, though a pop-out by Drew Rundle placed the Padres just one out away from further damage. Ryan Harvey homered on a line drive to left to tack on three more, but Medina's teammates kept other damage to a minimum.

Jackson Quezada earned the save for the Padres, pitching a scoreless ninth. After an infield single led off the inning, Yoeli Florentino caught a blooper in shallow center for the first out. A wild pitch by Quezada advanced the lead-off runner all the way to third with only one out, but Quezada struck out the final two Cubs on off-speed pitches to seal the deal.

Offensively, the Padres padded their lead in the seventh. Ray Stokes ripped a fastball through the first-base side for a leadoff single, and Jonathan Schemmel laid down a perfect bunt to put two on with nobody out. Kody Valverde bunted it back to the mound, but an E-1 allowed Stokes to score from second and Schemmel to advance to third. Ali Solis launched a sac fly RBI to center which scored Schemmel and moved Valverde 90 feet away. Florentino chopped a single past second and into center to score Valverde, giving the Padres the 8-2 advantage that would be enough to hang on for the victory.

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