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SD@CHC: Stauffer keeps the Cubs off the board

CHICAGO -- Nearly 10 innings into a scoreless game, with a light snow blowing and the howling wind keeping every hard-hit ball in the park, you had to figure it was going to come down to the little things.

Tyler Colvin's two-out double off Padres reliever Chad Qualls scored Geovany Soto from first base, giving the Chicago Cubs a 1-0 win over San Diego in 10 innings at Wrigley Field on Monday.

"Those are the games we play," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We had a couple of chances to get a hit and didn't. They got the hit at the end."

The Cubs' winning tally, the game's only score, came after a pair of defensive miscues by the Padres. With one out and the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome on first, Soto hit a grounder to shortstop Jason Bartlett, who threw to Orlando Hudson at second. However, Hudson was unable to make a relay throw to first, which could have resulted in an inning-ending double play.

"I didn't have a good grip on it," said Hudson. "I'm not going to throw it if I don't have a good grip. Then we'd be saying, 'Why you'd throw that ball?' Either way, I'm in a no-win situation."

That gave Colvin, pinch-hitting for Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, his chance. Colvin lined a 1-1 Qualls sinker down the right-field line. Chris Denorfia raced over and cut the ball off in the corner. Denorfia turned and fired the ball toward the infield, but his throw sailed over cutoff man Hudson, allowing Soto to score and bringing the entire Cubs team scrambling out of the dugout in celebration.

"I think it was Denorfia in right and he made a great play to stop it, and we were lucky the throw wasn't right on the money there to the cutoff man," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "[Soto] was running hard the whole way. It was a pretty exciting win."

Making matters worse for the Padres was the fact that it was a slow-running catcher, Soto, who scored the winning run.

"We didn't execute a couple of defensive plays at the end that we should have," said Black. "We didn't execute the cutoff on the relay play."

With a game-time temperature of 34 degrees, it wasn't surprising that the bats for both teams were cold. The stout wind blew in from the northeast, making it all but impossible to get a ball out of the park, especially to right field. One foul ball hit by the Cubs' Carlos Pena in the ninth started towards straightaway right field and ended up foul, several rows into the seats.

Also not helping the hitters were two starting pitchers on their game.

"I threw the ball better today," said Padres starter Tim Stauffer. "Tough day to hit out there. I knew a run or two would be the difference in the game."

In those rugged conditions, Stauffer matched Cubs counterpart Carlos Zambrano zero for zero.

"I felt pretty good, wasn't missing over the middle of the plate," said Stauffer. "We played well, just couldn't get some runs going."

Stauffer set down the first seven Cubs batters on five groundouts and two outs through the air before allowing Soto's bad-hop infield single in the third. The ball nicked the edge between the infield grass and the dirt and darted between the legs of Padres third baseman Chase Headley.

It turned out to be just a blip for Stauffer, who was inducing contact but avoiding hard-hit balls. After Soto's single, he breezed through seven innings. He allowed just four hits, a walk and struck out four, including striking out the side in the fifth.

Stauffer rebuffed a Cubs bid for the game's first run in the sixth. Starlin Castro led off with a solid single to right. Darwin Barney advanced him with a sacrifice and Castro made third on Marlon Byrd's flyout to center. However, Stauffer got Aramis Ramirez on a harmless fly to center fielder Cameron Maybin to keep the game scoreless.

The game marked the seventh time Stauffer has thrown a career-high seven innings in game. He worked around Pena's leadoff bunt single in his final inning, which came against an exaggerated shift by the San Diego infield.

"Great," Black said of Stauffer. "Outstanding game. Located fastball great. Got a lot of grounders. Good, tight slider. Pitched well."

Stauffer was removed for pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe in the eighth.

"I felt pretty good still," said Stauffer. "I felt like I had another one in me. It was just a matter of my of spot coming up in the order. I felt as good in that [last] inning as at any other point."

San Diego wasn't having any better luck against Zambrano, getting just three singles, a walk and striking out 10 times in eight innings. Jorge Cantu, who came into the game 4-for-9 with a home run in his career against Zambrano, struck out three times against the big righty.

"[Zambrano] has been tough on us over the years," said Black. "He's evolved a little bit, to a guy that changes speeds, keeps the ball down, and doesn't rely on velocity. ... He comes at you and pitches aggressive."

The Padres ran into a bit of bad luck in the fourth. After Nick Hundley singled with one out, Black started him with the count 3-2 on Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick checked his swing against a Zambrano slider, but made contact and popped weakly to Cubs first baseman Pena. With Hundley already near second, Pena walked back over to the first-base bag for an inning-ending double play.

"[Zambrano] threw the ball well," said Stauffer. "Mixed it up and pitched eight innings, in and out, changed speeds. Nothing else you can ask for. He's a great pitcher and had a great day today."

After Hundley's hit, the Padres' third, the San Diego bats fell silent. Zambrano set down the next 13 batters in a row, striking out the side in the seventh. Zambrano was removed for pinch-hitter Blake DeWitt in the eighth.

"Same Zambrano you've been seeing for the last 10 years in the big leagues," said Hudson. "Mixing his fastball, cutter, slider, changing arm angles. He threw a hell of a game tonight."

Mike Adams came on in relief of Stauffer, setting down the Cubs in order in the eighth. Adams has now retired 26 straight batters and 27 of 28 this season. He allowed a homer to St. Louis' Matt Holliday on March 31, the second hitter he faced in 2011.

The Padres got a runner in scoring position against Cubs reliever Sean Marshall in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Denorfia singled and went to second on Headley's sacrifice bunt. Hudson struck out and Quade summoned the sometimes-dominant, sometimes-erratic Marmol from the bullpen.

Marmol promptly fired a warmup pitch to the screen and plunked Cantu with his first official pitch. He recovered to strike out Hundley, who whiffed three times, to end the inning. Marmol also pitched the 10th, picking up his first win of the season.

"You watch the way [Zambrano was] throwing and you feel like one run is going to win this game," said Quade. "If you get two, it's like a 2-0 lead in soccer."

The Padres have now played four extra-inning games this year, losing three. They are also 1-3 in one-run games.

"That loss is on me," said Hudson. "I didn't come through twice with runners in scoring position, and I didn't turn that double play. That's my loss."

Unfortunately for the warm weather-based Padres, the forecast for Tuesday's night game at Wrigley is for even more dire conditions than on Monday.

"[Those were the] same conditions you sat and watched us play in," said Hudson. "You know it's rough weather. You know it's Chicago, the Windy City. You know it's a great place to play in the summer time, but obviously it is not summer time." Comments