04/17/07 8:38 PM ET
Blum lifts Pads past Cubs in extras
San Diego earns split of series; Hoffman picks up third save
By Jon Greenberg / Special to MLB.com
Blum's RBI double in the 14th backed up another stellar outing from the Padres bullpen and sent them home with a 4-3 victory over the Cubs Tuesday at Wrigley Field, and a split of the two-game series.
"I was just waiting until the 14th inning to relax and get this thing over with," said a laughing Blum, who hit a 14th inning homer in Houston to win Game 3 of the 2005 World Series when he was with the crosstown White Sox. "I knew I wasn't going to repeat the World Series thing, not with the wind like that. I don't have that kind of pop."
The Padres' compressed trip to Chicago now gives way to another two-game series, at home against Arizona, starting Wednesday night. While the efficient Greg Maddux is usually seen as the patron saint of getaway day, this game included two seventh-inning stretches and lasted 4 hours, 15 minutes.
"We'll take it," Padres manager Bud Black said of the team's second extra-inning win this season. "We'll stay here until forever and then get on the plane, because this will make the flight a lot easier."
As it often happens on Chicago's North Side, the weather played a role in the game. Crosswinds whipped through the park, seagulls infested the outfield, and the sun played hide-and-seek in the clouds, affecting the temperature and challenging the outfielders.
"It was bad, one of the worst I've played in, to be honest with you," Marcus Giles said of the conditions. "There were a lot of home runs taken away today."
The wind worked in San Diego's favor in the deciding inning. Khalil Greene started the inning with a double off Will Ohman (0-1) that sailed past Ryan Theriot to the wall in right. One out later, Blum stroked a ball to left that fell in front of Jacque Jones and bounced to the right of his glove, rolling back to the wall. Greene easily made it home for the game-winner.
"I knew as soon as I hit that it was going to drop," Blum said. "I didn't hit it that well, it got off the end of the bat and I knew it would drop in front of him."
The Padres bullpen shined in relief of Maddux -- who lasted five innings in his return to Wrigley Field -- throwing 7 2/3 innings of no-hit ball. Doug Brocail (1-0) got the win, pitching the 12th and 13th, and striking out four.
"We're expecting a [complete game] out of Boomer tomorrow," Brocail said of Wednesday's starter, David Wells. "Or eight and [Trevor] Hoffman comes in in the ninth. Whatever."
Cla Meredith and Scott Linebrink faced the minimum in four straight scoreless innings, with Linebrink walking two and getting a pair of double plays. Heath Bell then worked two perfect innings, striking out two, before giving way to Brocail, who gave up a single to Theriot in the 13th to end the bullpen's no-hitter. Hoffman gave up a one-out double to Daryle Ward on a ball that dropped just in front of Mike Cameron, but got Jones to fly out to left and struck out Ronny Cedeno looking to end the game. As a unit, the bullpen is 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA this season.
"It's unbelievable that they come in and give us a chance to win like that," Marcus Giles said. "I was throwing the ball in between innings and it was tough to get a feel on the ball, let alone pitch. That was big from our 'pen, but that's how it's been all year."
The Cubs bullpen flirted with disaster, but matched the Padres until the 14th. The Padres had good chances to end it in the ninth, 10th and 12th. Facing closer Ryan Dempster in the 12th with a man on second, Marcus Giles smoked a pitch up the middle but a diving Mark DeRosa made a full-extension grab to end the threat.
With two on in the 10th and Bob Howry on the mound, Brian Giles singled to center, and highly touted Cubs prospect Felix Pie -- called up just before the game -- rifled a perfect, Willie Mays-style throw home to Michael Barrett to easily nail Russell Branyan, who was coming from second. Cameron grounded out to end the inning.
"That was an impressive throw, right on the money," Maddux said. "He looked like one of the pitchers out there."
With one out in the ninth, Cameron singled and Adrian Gonzalez doubled to right off Michael Wuertz, but Cameron couldn't score. Wuertz came back to strike out Greene before intentionally walking Terrmel Sledge. Scott Eyre came in and got Blum to fly out to right.
"We got our knocks, we did," Black said. "We had some opportunities throughout the course of the game, couldn't punch one through."
The Padres used all of their position players and pitcher Jake Peavy pinch-hit in the 14th. Marcus Giles had three hits to push his team-high hitting streak to seven games and Gonzalez matched his career high with four hits.
The Cubs tied it in the fifth. Pie got his first career hit and RBI against Maddux, stroking a double to left-center to score Henry Blanco. Pie scored on Derrek Lee's single to right. Maddux gave up three runs on six hits, walking one.
"It was probably one of the easiest days to pitch because it was hard to hit a homer," Maddux said. "It's not good to play in, but it's good to pitch in."
In the first, Marcus Giles had a leadoff single against Wade Miller and scored on Brian Giles' double. The latter Giles scored on a Gonzalez double. Marcus Giles had an RBI single in the top of the second to push the lead to 3-1, but San Diego was stymied after that. Despite Miller's wildness, the Padres couldn't score off of him in his final three innings, leaving the bases loaded in the third.
Jon Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.