The Chicago Cubs had won eight straight games and are the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball. Their pitching staff had allowed the fewest runs in the league. In fact, the Cubbies had only allowed more than six runs in a game once all season.
Then on Tuesday night the Padres (yes, the team that has already been shut out eight times) put up a seven spot in a 1-run loss and followed that up with another magnificent seven in a 7-4 win at Wrigley Field on Wednesday in the first game of a double-header.
What is really shocking about this is the way the Padres got a lot of their runs.
The Cubs bullpen had allowed 27 earned runs in 81.1 innings coming in to their 3-game set against San Diego. The Padres got four runs in 3.0 innings on Tuesday night (all on an Alex Dickerson grand slam) and four more in 2.1 innings on Wednesday morning.
The Padres scored twice in the first inning against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, once on a throwing error by Chicago 3rd baseman Javier Baez and once on a Matt Kemp RBI single. Padres starter Colin Rea had trouble taking advantage of the early lead.
He allowed a run in the first on a single by Anthony Rizzo, another in the second on a single by Ben Zobrist (who was on base four times), and two more in the fourth on a pair of RBI doubles by Addison Russell and Tim Federowicz. Rea was listed after 5.0 innings and 110 pitches.
In the 7th inning the Padres got a gift when Baez made another throwing error to let Travis Jankowski score. Jankowski had reached on a bunt single and made a stellar running catch in centerfield to keep a few more Cubs runs from scoring. Had Baez made the throw the inning would have been over. Instead relief pitcher Pedro Strop was left in and he made a mistake. Strop hung a slider to Brett Wallace and the Padres 3rd baseman lifted it in to the left-centerfield bleachers to give the Padres a 6-4 lead.
San Diego got their last run on a sacrifice fly by Kemp then let the bullpen hold the lead. Closer Fernando Rodney tossed a perfect 9th to get his 9th save. Rodney has still not allowed an earned run in a Padres uniform.
The Padres can hand the Cubs just their second series loss of the year if they take the second half of the doubleheader. It would also mark the first time in 2016 Chicago has lost back-to-back games.