SAN DIEGO — The Cubs haven’t had their full lineup recently and Wednesday was no exception. But even without Kris Bryant, Javy Baez and Willson Contreras, they found a way to score enough runs in a 3-1 victory against the Padres to win another series.
The Cubs didn’t have a hit off former ace Yu Darvish until the fourth inning, when Joc Pederson crushed a long solo home run to tie the game at 1-1.
“The first at-bat, he didn’t give me much,” Pederson said. “It just showed me that he’s kinda nasty. I was just looking to get a pitch that I could put the barrel on. He’s got a lot of pitches and they go a lot of different directions.”
While Darvish was tough throughout the day, the Cubs were able to break through in the seventh. Following Ian Happ’s lead-off walk and a single by Patrick Wisdom, Anthony Rizzo brought in the go-ahead run on a double play to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Shortstop Sergio Alcantara, who started in place of Baez, gave the bullpen some breathing room in the eighth inning by hitting his first homer of the season for a 3-1 lead.
“The walk that started that thing. That was a really good at-bat off Yu,” manager David Ross said. “Rizz doing a nice job there 3-2 putting that ball in play and getting us that go-ahead run is nice. Then the homer by Sergio was huge. We’ve had little moments like that that can’t be understated all year where guys are just getting big hits.’’
Happ gets first start at second since ’19
Ross has had to get creative with his lineups with so many players being banged up and unavailable. Ross added another wrinkle on Wednesday, starting Happ at second base. It was Happ’s first start at second since Sept. 12, 2019, also in San Diego against the Padres.
Versatility has been the name of the game as Bryant has shown this season while the Cubs try to tread water until they get back to full strength.
“Last week when a lot of guys were going down, [Ian] just said, ‘Hey, if you need me, I can get back to the infield or I’m willing to do whatever,’ ” Ross said before the game. “That’s the kind of player he is. We got a lot of those guys. KB we talk about moving around and doing what’s best for the team. Same thing with Happ.
“He took some ground balls just to try to get some work in and make sure it looks clean and with Javy being out and then [Eric] Sogard, just don’t want to run him in the ground with the off day. We’re just limited to what we got in the middle infield . . . I know he’ll go out there and give his best and give us a chance to win a play.”
Happ’s first opportunity came in the sixth inning when he made a sliding stop off a ball that took a sharp hop, fielding it and firing to first for the out.