It's been a recurring theme for the Chicago Cubs bullpen over the last couple of years -- get out to a big lead, and taking a heartbreaking loss. It happened again on Friday night, as the Cubs opened up their west coast road trip with a 7-6 loss against the San Diego Padres.
Things started well for Cubs starter Edwin Jackson, who saw his team explode to an early 6-0 lead. But things would sour as the night progressed. Anthony Rizzo blasted his 19th home run of the season in the opening inning, a two-run shot, to put them ahead early. Brian Bogusevic would send two more across the plate with a triple, as the Cubs posted all six runs before the the first out of the game had been recorded.
Jackson even had some early success, keeping the San Diego bats relatively quiet early on. After allowing just one hit through his first 13 batters, he gave up a big three-run homer to Jedd Gyorko (15) to cut the lead in half. A double play would get him out of the inning, but his night wasn't quite done yet.
Will Venable got the Padres within a run in the fifth, driving two runs home with a triple that barely stayed in the park. Logan Forsythe hit a line drive triple in the sixth, tying the game. Jackson's night would end in the seventh, responsible for six runs (five earned) on a total of ten hits.
From there, the Cubs bullpen continued to give up big hits. James Russell came on in the seventh and almost immediately gave up a home run to Venable (18) to give San Diego a 7-6 lead. Blake Parker relieved him in the eighth, but fell victim to Gyorko's second home run of the night (16) to increase the lead to what would be the 8-6 final score.
Edinson Volquez got roughed up early as well, giving up six runs (five earned) as well. But he only lasted 2/3 of an inning before he was chased out after his worst start of the season. The San Diego bullpen was able to pull together and shut down the Cubs who were desperately needing a win to kick off their road trip.
They're back in action on Saturday, with first pitch set for 8:40 P.M. Jeff Samardzija (7-11, 4.12 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago to oppose Eric Stults (8-10, 3.70 ERA). Samardzija is coming off Monday's complete game blowout against the Nationals and looks to add another win to his record.