Cubs

Johnson’s Homer Lifts Cubs Over Padres

Reed Johnson (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

Reed Johnson (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

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CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza had by far his best performance since coming over to the club in an offseason trade. Garza scattered six hit and three walks over six innings of shutout baseball.

View full box score here.

However, Garza and the rest of the Cubs pitching staff received minimal run support. A third inning RBI single by Marlon Byrd would be all the scoring the Cubs would get until extra innings.

The San Diego Padres scored their first run of this series on a ninth inning sacrifice fly Jason Bartlett.

Reed Johnson lined a 1-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers in the 11th inning to give the Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday in the opening game of a doubleheader.

Johnson’s first homer of the season came off Luke Gregerson (0-1), the fifth Padres pitcher.

The Cubs led 1-0 when starting pitcher Matt Garza left after six innings. He scattered six hits and walked three while striking out nine – and even scored the Cubs’ first run, on a single by Marlon Byrd in the third inning.

The Padres tied the game in the ninth against closer Carlos Marmol, when Cameron Maybin walked, stole second and went to third on a bunt single by Will Venable. Maybin scored on Josh Barlett’s sacrifice fly.

Reliever Jeff Samardzija (1-0) worked two innings for the victory.

Chicago missed a chance for more runs in the third inning. After Garza scored, the Cubs loaded the bases with two outs when Aramis Ramirez walked. Carlos Pena grounded out to end the inning, leaving the Cubs clinging to a 1-0 lead.

The Padres threatened in the sixth when Garza walked the bases loaded with one out, but he escaped the jam by getting Brad Hawpe to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Cubs manager Mike Quade pulled Garza after six innings and employed three relief pitchers in the seventh to prevent the Padres from scoring. Left-hander Sean Marshall walked Orlando Hudson to load the bases with two outs before getting Chase Headley to ground out with a full count.

After the Padres tied it in the ninth, Mike Adams gave up a two-out single to the Cubs’ Kosuke Fukudome, ending a streak of 28 consecutive batters retired.

San Diego loaded the bases with one out in the 11th, but Headley and Hundley each flied out to end the threat.

The Cubs left 10 men on base while the Padres stranded 16.

NOTES: Fukudome was out of the starting lineup, but the outfielder entered the game in the seventh in right field. His wife delivered a baby girl, the couple’s second child, on Tuesday in Chicago … Tuesday’s rainout was the first of the season for either team. Conditions on Wednesday were overcast and dry with temperatures in the 40s. … With a Thursday home game with Philadelphia, the Padres planned a quick departure from Chicago following the conclusion of Wednesday’s doubleheader. … Cubs leadoff batter Starlin Castro, who came into the game leading the majors with 29 hits, went 0 for 4.

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