Red-hot Kouzmanoff lifts Padres past CubsMay 24, 2007 - 6:56 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- It's apparent that Kevin Kouzmanoff has put a horrible start to the season behind him.
Kouzmanoff hit a two-run homer and David Wells tossed seven effective innings as the San Diego Padres posted a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
With the Padres trailing, 1-0, in the seventh, Kouzmanoff crushed a 2-0 pitch from Cubs starter Sean Marshall to deep leftfield to give San Diego the lead.
"I just got a good pitch to hit and I hit it hard," Kouzmanoff said. "It's definitely a good feeling when you hit a ball like that off your bat."
"It was just one pitch, that's the way it turned out," Marshall said. "Kouzmanoff has been hot. I really didn't make the pitch I wanted to. He put a nice swing on it, unfortunately for us."
The blast made a winner out of Wells (2-2) and continued Kouzmanoff's recent turnaround.
The homers were the second in as many nights for Kouzmanoff, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Cleveland. The rookie third baseman has a six-game hitting streak with 10 hits in 19 at-bats with a pair of homers and eight RBI.
After a rough April, Kouzmanoff was not getting much better in May. He was hitting .108 after going 0-for-3 at Atlanta on May 7. He went 2-for-3 on Wednesday and has raised his average nearly 100 points over the past 2 1/2 weeks.
"All along we had a lot of faith in Kooz," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "We felt like he was going to hit and do the things he has done the last few weeks. A lot of people might think he is hot right now, but we think this is what he is capable of doing this stretch of May."
Kouzmanoff's home run came two pitches after Chicago Manager Lou Piniella walked out to the mound to talk to Marshall, who was recalled from Class AAA Iowa on Tuesday, after a first pitch ball.
"He asked me how I was feeling and I told him I was feeling good," Marshall said. "I said I felt strong and could get a double play. I threw him a double play pitch but left it up and he hit it out of the park, unfortunately."
"He said he felt good, I just wanted to make sure he felt good," Piniella said. "He was throwing the ball well, but he hit it out of the ballpark."
Wells allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five in recording his first victory since April 24.
"I thought Boomer was outstanding from the first pitch on," Black said. "He threw the ball great. His fastball had life, good curveball, good changeup - I thing he had all his pitches working."
Wells got into some trouble in the seventh when, with one out, catcher Michael Barrett and rightfielder Matt Murton walked, and second baseman Mark DeRosa singled to load the bases. Wells then got shortstop Cesar Izturis to ground into a double play to Padre shortstop Khalil Greene.
"I think he was still throwing the ball great," Black said. "I felt at that point he was still capable of making pitches and getting outs, as evident by the double play. But he was on his game, he was on top of it."
"That was huge to get out of a jam like that," Wells said. "I just told myself just keep the ball down. I made the right pitch. It's better to be lucky than good sometimes."
Scott Linebrink allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth and Trevor Hoffman allowed one hit and struck out one in the ninth to pick up his 13th save of the season and the 495th of his career.
Linebrink and Hoffman kept the Cubs off the scoreboard and continued a strong recent run by the Padres' bullpen. San Diego relievers have allowed one run in the last 11 games over 30 1/3 innings.
Marshall (0-1) pitched well in his first start of the season for the Cubs. He yielded two runs on four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks.
DeRosa went 4-for-4 and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI double. San Diego has won 10 of 11 against Chicago dating to last year.
Chicago had its chances, stranding 11 men on base while falling to 2-10 in one-run games this season, much to the chagrin of Piniella.
"I get tired about talking it. We talk about the same things every time. It's hard explaining it, I mean it really is," Piniella said. "I wish you could all sit back here and I could write. I just don't know what to say. It just happens too many times. We have so many chances, but just leave them on.
"We're second in the league in hitting and we're 2-10 in one-run games. It just doesn't add up, does it?"
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
CHICAGO CUBS 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
SAN DIEGO 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 x 2 4 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: CHN - SEAN MARSHALL, MIKE WUERTZ (8TH), WILL OHMAN (8TH) AND MICHAEL
SDG - DAVID WELLS, SCOTT LINEBRINK (8TH), TREVOR
HOFFMAN (9TH) AND JOSH BARD
May 24 12:23 AM
AT SAN DIEGO - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY KEVIN KOUZMANOFF (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
IN THE 7TH OFF SEAN MARSHALL SCORED JOSH BARD.
CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 1, SAN DIEGO 2
DUE UP FOR SAN DIEGO: T SLEDGE (.190, 0-FOR-2)
Cubs vs. PadresMay 23 11:45 PM
AT SAN DIEGO - SCORING UPDATE
DOUBLE BY MARK DEROSA SCORED MATT MURTON.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M DEROSA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 1
SAN DIEGO 0 TOP, 2ND
DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: C IZTURIS (.274, 0 HR, 5 RBI)
Cubs vs. PadresMay 23 10:26 PM
- Cubs-Cardinals Preview May 23
- Padres-Giants Preview May 23
- Bumgarner throws gem, gets RBI in Giants' 1-0 win over Cubs May 23
- Cubs slowed again by Bumgarner, Giants in 1-0 loss May 23
- Rookie Perdomo tough-luck loser in 9-5 defeat to Dodgers May 22
- Puig's 2-run single in 17th leads Dodgers over Padres, 9-5 May 22
- Padres under fire for mishandling gay chorus' anthem May 22
- Plate umpire Rackley leaves after getting hit by foul bunt May 22
- Solarte draws bases-loaded BB in 11th, Padres walk off again May 22
- Dodgers lose 3-2 in 11th after Tsao issues walk-off walk May 22
- Dodgers-Padres Preview May 22
- Cubs-Giants Preview May 22