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Stults pitches well in 3-2 loss to Cubs

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SAN DIEGO (AP) - Eric Stults came away with another loss despite pitching a solid game.

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Stults was outduled by Jeff Samardzija, who threw eight impressive innings, and Darwin Barney homered and drove in two runs as the Chicago Cubs beat San Diego 3-2 on Saturday night.

Stults (8-11) had allowed just a solo homer to Barney in the fifth before Will Venable tied the score with his 19th in the sixth. But a leadoff walk to Darnell McDonald and Barney's RBI double put an end to Stults' night.

``I think that leadoff walk in the seventh is what killed me, especially after having him 0-2,'' said Stults. ``Then, I just didn't make a good pitch to Barney there.''

Trailing 3-1 entering the eighth, San Diego threatened when they twice loaded the bases but could manage just one run off Samardzija (8-11).

Stults gave up three runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He has now gone winless in his last seven starts with a 0-4 record. The lefty's last win was July 14 against San Francisco.

``Stultzy did his part but Samardzija was a little bit better,'' Padres manager Bud Black said.

In his second straight solid outing, Samardzija allowed two runs on seven hits. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.

The light-hitting Barney, who had three hits, connected for a solo shot in the fifth inning and added a go-ahead RBI double in the Cubs' two-run seventh.

Padres pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay led off the eighth with a walk and went to second on Will Venable's single. San Diego loaded the bases when Alexi Amarista's sacrifice bunt attempt hugged the third base line but stayed fair for a hit.

Yonder Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly. But Samardzija got rookie Jedd Gyorko on a fly out. After a passed ball, Samardzija intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases. He then struck out Logan Forsythe to end the inning.

``Me and Dale (Sveum) might have had a meeting if he would have taken me out right down there in the dugout,'' Samardzija joked. ``But that's what Dale is all about. Dale is all about putting confidence in players. There are a lot of under the radar things he does that puts confidence in his players. He did it for me there, too. He didn't even have a mound visit or anything. As a player, that says a lot.''

Samardzija threw a six-hitter in his last start, an 11-1 win over Washington last Sunday.

Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 30 chances.

The Cubs went ahead 2-1 in the seventh after a leadoff walk to Darnell McDonald. With one out, Barney hit a ball into the left field corner. As McDonald rounded third, Forsythe took the relay throw on the grass just behind third base.

But Forsythe's throw sailed high into the stands behind home plate, allowing Barney to go to third. Anthony Rizzo followed with a two-out RBI single.

Barney's seventh homer, which tied his career, just barely cleared the left field wall, landing in the first row.

Venable extended his career high with his homer and has hit safely in 19 of 20 games.

NOTES: Fourteen of Venable's 19 homers have come at pitching friendly Petco Park. . Stults was the first lefty starter the Cubs have faced in 16 games. ... Barney's home run was Chicago's 400th extra-base hit this season. The Cubs have 403, tops in the NL . ... Padres OF-1B Kyle Blanks, on the DL since July 12 with left Achilles inflammation, will play in a rehab game Sunday with Triple-A Tucson. ... Cubs C Welington Castillo (sore rib) missed his third straight start but is expected back in the lineup on Sunday . Cubs LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08 ERA) faces Padres righty Andrew Cashner (8-8, 3.74) in Sunday's finale.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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