San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Chris Young and four relievers combined on a four-hit shutout and Will Venable made two incredible catches in the outfield to rob potential home runs, as the Padres beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, at Petco Park.
Despite the win, the Padres failed to gain ground in the NL West and wild card races. Atlanta, which won at home over Florida Wednesday, remains 1 1/2 games ahead of the Padres in the wild card race. The Braves have three games left and the Padres have four remaining, with three of them coming at NL West- leading San Francisco to close the season. The Giants stayed two games in front of San Diego after a win over Arizona Wednesday night.
Pitching in just his third game since returning from a five-month absence while recovering from a strained shoulder, Young (2-0) allowed three hits, walked two batters and fanned six.
The Cubs, who had won the first two contests of this four-game series, pulled off a double steal in the opening inning, but Young escaped the second and third jam with nobody out. Marlon Byrd grounded out, and Aramis Ramirez and Xavier Nady both struck out.
Alfonso Soriano led off the second with a blast to center field, but Venable jumped at the wall to pull the ball in and keep the game scoreless.
Venable was at it again in the third. With a runner on first and two outs. Ramirez sent a deep fly to left-center. Venable, a former basketball player at Princeton, timed his leap perfectly and extended over the wall to take a home run away.
Eckstein doubled to left to drive in Luis Durango in the fifth and San Diego's bullpen did the rest. Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell held down the fort, combining to retire 15 straight batters at one point. Bell notched his 45th save.
The Padres matched their all-time record of 20 shutouts in a season...The Cubs are 14-4 on the road since Mike Quade took over the managerial reins, August 23...Scott Maine threw a scoreless eighth for the Cubs, whose bullpen's 18 1/3 scoreless innings streak is its longest since a 21 1/3 inning run, August 27- September 2 of last season...San Diego has gone 27-13 against NL Central opponents this season...Bell has converted each of his last 32 save opportunities.