As the San Diego Padres continue to build for the future, Tyson Ross remains a big part of the process.
Hoping for some much-needed run support, the All-Star right-hander tries to win consecutive starts for the first time in two months Thursday night against the Chicago Cubs.
Ross (8-10, 2.70 ERA) has lost four of his last six outings despite allowing seven earned runs in 43 innings, striking out 42 and walking six.
He's 2-6 over his last nine starts as San Diego (44-56) has backed him with 10 runs, with half of them coming Saturday when he gave up four hits in seven innings of a 6-0 victory over the New York Mets.
"We've talked about the maturity, the development of Tyson the last month or so," manager Bud Black said. "About what it means to be one of those guys at the front end of the rotation, to stop losing streaks and put zeroes on the board, to really throw great games, to really shut down opponents.
"He is starting to do that."
Ross hasn't won two in a row since May 9-15. He's lost three straight road starts and the Padres have dropped his last four, totaling two runs in those games.
His only previous appearance against Chicago (41-58) came in relief with Oakland in 2010, yielding no hits over two scoreless innings at Wrigley Field.
He hopes the Padres can carry over some of the production they displayed during Wednesday's 8-3 victory. Tommy Medica was 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Yangervis Solarte had two hits with a RBI in his San Diego debut.
Acquired from the Yankees for Chase Headley on Tuesday, Solarte was 4 for 51 in his final 18 games for New York but reached base three times and scored twice Wednesday. He's 6 for 16 (.375) with six walks against the Cubs this season.
"He looked good, everything as advertised," Black said.
The addition of Solarte came less than a week after the Padres dealt All-Star closer Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels for four prospects.
San Diego has scored eight or more runs six times in 2014, and twice against the Cubs.
Chicago's Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.61) fell to 0-5 with a 6.95 ERA in nine starts versus San Diego after giving up eight runs and nine hits in four innings of an 11-1 loss May 23.
The right-hander, who is 0-3 with a 7.18 ERA in his last five starts, blew a 3-0 lead Friday at Arizona as he yielded three runs in 5 1-3 innings of the 5-4 defeat.
Teammate Anthony Rizzo homered twice that day to spark a four-game stretch in which he went deep five times. Two of them came in Tuesday's 6-0 win over the Padres, and he went 1 for 2 with two walks Wednesday but struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning.
"If you make a mistake to him it will cost you quite a bit," winning pitcher Ian Kennedy said.
The All-Star first baseman and ex-Padre is batting .356 in his last 12 contests. He's 8 for 18 in his last five against his former team at Wrigley.
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