With a 17-m.p.h. wind blowing out and journeyman left-hander Shawn Estes on the mound for San Diego, the conditions seemed ripe for another Cubs blowout.
But nothing seems to play to form for the Cubs this year, and after putting his team in an early three-run hole, Estes earned his first victory since Sept. 9, 2005, in the Padres 4-3 victory at Wrigley Field.
"Man, he had some good stuff tonight," Ryan Theriot said. "A great two-seam sinker he was throwing, kept the ball down and threw strikes. He had us chasing early."
The Padres snapped the Cubs four-game winning streak on a wet and windy night at Wrigley Field, coming from behind against Jason Marquis during a four-run fourth inning.
Leading 3-0 in the fourth, Marquis served up a three-run homer to Khalil Greene and a two-out, run-scoring double to Jody Gerut to give the Padres all the runs they needed. Marquis pitched 52/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and one walk.
Marquis has allowed 14 runs on 26 hits over 16 innings in his last three starts and could be the next Cubs starter on the firing line.
Manager Lou Piniella said it was just another case of one bad inning that cost Marquis the game.
"All his games are about the same," Piniella said, adding he had no idea why.
Marquis lost his third straight and watched his earned-run average rise to 5.26. His start is in stark contrast to last spring when he went 5-0 with a 2.47 ERA in eight starts from April 16-May 24.
"Every mistake I make is getting hit hard," Marquis said. "That's what it comes down to. I'm making good pitches and getting the outs I want, and it seems like the mistakes are being magnified now more than anything.
"So we have to bear down and minimize them as much as possible."
On the bright side, Alfonso Soriano appears to be coming out of his early-season funk.
Soriano hit a first-inning home run off Estes, his 45th while leading off a game, which moved him into sole possession of third place on the all-time list behind Rickey Henderson (81) and Craig Biggio (53). He's 9-for-18 on the homestand, which began with him being booed Friday.
Soriano has heard it all before, and expects to hear it again.
"In Washington I wasn't booed much, just a little bit," Soriano said. " New York, it's a big city and they like to do it when the team isn't doing good, so I've been booed in New York. It's part of the game.
"I don't really pay attention because when I'm doing good, they're happy. When I'm not, they're not happy."
Reed Johnson's two-run double in the second made it 3-0, but Estes shut the Cubs offense down after that until tiring in the sixth.
Estes escaped a two on, no-out jam in the fifth when Theriot bunted right back to him. The former Cub threw to third for the force and retired Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez on fly outs.
"If we execute there, it could've been a different ballgame," Piniella said of Theriot's failed sacrifice.
Padres closer Trevor Hoffman came on to pitch a perfect ninth and post his 531st career save, adding to his all-time record.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times