SAN DIEGO (AP) — It seems like the Chicago Cubs can do nothing right.
Despite a solid pitching performance from Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs failed to solve Clayton Richard and managed just five hits in a 2-0 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
The loss extended the Cubs’ losing streak to eight games, including all six on the West Coast road trip.
“Our starting pitching has pitched really well,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “Bottom line is all of a sudden, we’ve just stopped hitting. We’re not scoring runs to take the lead.”
Samardzija (7-10) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Chicago scored four runs — all in Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss — and had 15 hits in the three-game series.
The Cubs were swept for the ninth time and shut out for the 10th. Chicago has been outscored 40-16 during its losing streak.
“You’ve got to be ready to show up and play the game, regardless of your record, regardless of how you feel,” Samardzija said. ”
Richard (9-11), coming off one of his better starts of the season, held the Cubs to five singles and pitched out of trouble three times.
“He had command of the bottom of the strike zone,” Padres catcher John Baker said. “He made the Cubs react to how he was pitching.”
Richard struck out five, walked one and hit a batter as the Cubs had a runner reach third base three times.
“It’s been kind of our Achilles heel all year, hitting with men in scoring position,” Sveum said. “Once again, it’s starting to happen again, and it leads to these kind of games.”
San Diego’s runs came on Will Venable’s RBI double in the second inning and Yonder Alonso’s run-scoring single in the eighth.
Richard has three career complete games and two shutouts.
In his last start, Richard gave up one run and scattered eight hits over seven innings in Friday’s 3-1 win over the New York Mets.
San Diego scored the game’s first run when Chase Headley led off the second with a double and scored one out later on Venable’s double.
Chris Denorfia doubled with two outs in the eighth and went to third on first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s error before Alonso blooped a single to left.
Chicago’s Starlin Castro singled in the sixth to snap an 0-for-19 drought. Castro’s single sent Alfonso Soriano to third after he was hit by a pitch with two outs and stole second. But Wellington Castillo grounded out to end the inning.
Samardzija struck out swinging to end the seventh inning and snapped his bat in two over his right leg.
Notes: San Diego’s sweep was its first at home since taking four straight from the Marlins last August. … The sweep was the Padres’ third this season. … The clubs evened the season series at 3-3. . The last time Chicago won the season series against San Diego was in 2005. … Sveum gave struggling rookie OF Brett Jackson the day off. Jackson has struck out eight times in his first 11 major-league at-bats, including four on Monday and three more on Tuesday. “I’m not surprised that he’s had some strikeouts. We knew that was going to happen,” Sveum said. “It basically comes down to swinging at strikes. It’s not like he’s swinging through anything, balls in the strike zone. Right now, he’s just swinging out of the strike zone.” Jackson was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. … Alonso (sore hamstring) and Soriano (swelling in right hand) were both back in the starting lineup after missing one game. … Reds RHP Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51 ERA) will face Cubs RHP Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22) to start a three-game set Thursday in Chicago. San Diego is off Thursday before opening a seven-game trip at Pittsburgh on Friday.
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