CHICAGO – A dash of power, followed by patience at the plate, paid off for the San Diego Padres.
Erick Aybar hit a tying home run in the sixth inning, Luis Torrens walked with the bases loaded against Koji Uehara in the eighth and the Padres stopped a three-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Wednesday.
Torrens, a rookie who started at catcher for the second straight game for the injured Austin Hedges, took a 3-1 fastball that sailed inside with two outs to force in the go-ahead run.
“It’s tough to get some veteran guys to do that,” manager Andy Green said. “Sometimes they want to win the game so bad swinging the bat that they don’t realize the walk is just as powerful in that situation.”
Uehara (2-4), the fifth of six Cubs relievers, replaced Pedro Strop starting the eighth and allowed singles to Wil Myers leading off and Cory Spangenberg with one out.
Aybar was intentionally walked, loading the bases, Matt Szczur fouled out and then the 21-year-old Torrens walked.
“I think always focusing on little things, focusing on work and making adjustments,” Torrens said through a translator.
Jose Pirela started the comeback with an RBI single in the fifth off Eddie Butler, and Aybar tied the score against Brian Duensing.
Chicago rookie Ian Happ hit a two-run homer in the fourth against reliever Craig Stammen, going deep for the second straight game and third time in four. Happ is hitting just .221, but has gone deep 10 times.
“I feel like the at-bats are getting better,” Happ said. “You’re seeing some balls go out of the yard and hopefully if I keep making contact, some more will fall.”
Phil Maton (1-0), the third of five Padres relievers, pitched a scoreless seventh for his first major league win. Brandon Maurer got two outs for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Maton, a 24-year-old from Chatham, Illinois, was delighted with where he got the victory.
“Real cool” Maton said. “Growing up in central Illinois, all the Cubs fans lived in the area. Especially this awesome atmosphere, hard to beat it.”
Miguel Diaz, making his third major league start, left with one out in the third inning because of a right forearm strain. He allowed one hit and a walk, then was replaced by Stammen.
Cubs starter Eddie Butler gave up one run, five hits and three walks in four-plus innings, leaving after Stammen doubled leading off the fifth and scored on Pirella’s single.
Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo went 0 for 4, stopping a career-high 14-game hitting streak. He failed to reach base in his opening at-bat for the first time since being moved the leadoff spot eight games earlier.