Jeff Samardzija had plenty of extra motivation on Tuesday. It was his own bobblehead day.Alfonso Soriano homered, Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings and the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Tuesday.Samardzija departed after Will Venable’s RBI triple with no outs in the eighth. Shawn Camp kept the lead intact, getting a comebacker, a lineout and escaping the inning on Carlos Quentin’s fly to left.
“The fact of the matter is Camp’s been probably our MVP up to this point,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Soriano hit a solo homer to center field in the sixth. After going homerless in his first 30 games this season, Soriano has seven home runs in his last 13 games.James Russell got the last two outs for his first career save, a nice feat but his father Jeff, a longtime closer in the majors, saved 186 games in his career. Russell, who was mostly a starter in the minors, didn’t have a save at any professional level, but talked about the role like a grizzled veteran.Quentin homered and had three hits for San Diego. His drive deep into the left-field bleachers on the first pitch of the fifth was his first home run as a Padre.The Cubs won their second straight win after snapping a 12-game losing streak with an 11-7 win over San Diego on Monday. The Padres have lost five straight and eight of nine. San Diego dropped a game behind the Cubs for the worst record in the National League.Quentin singled and scored on John Baker’s hit in the seventh, but the Padres failed to tie the score when Samardzija struck out pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman with runners on second and third to end the inning.Eric Stults (1-1) took the loss despite his third straight solid outing. He allowed four runs, including an unearned one, in 6 1/3 innings. Stults has a 2.50 ERA since being claimed off waivers from the White Sox.Samardzija improved to 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA in five starts at Wrigley, and looped a 3-2 pitch from Stults over a drawn-in infield to score Darwin Barney with the go-ahead run in the fifth.Samardzija worked around Stults’ leadoff double in the sixth, escaping when Soriano made a sliding grab in left to rob Chris Denorfia, then easily doubled Stults off second as he was already halfway between third base and home plate.Barney doubled into the left-field corner in fifth to score Reed Johnson, tying the game 1-all. Barney also doubled in the seventh. After being balked to third by Stults, he scored on John Baker’s passed ball.
NOTES—The Cubs activated C Steve Clevenger from the 15-day disabled list before the game, optioning C Blake Lalli to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Clevenger, who has been out since April 28 with a right oblique strain, will see the majority of action behind the plate. Regular backstop Geovany Soto is on the DL with a torn meniscus in his left knee….Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the day the Cubs made scout Buck O’Neil the first black coach in big-league history.