Good homestand for the Cubs ends with a forgettable loss to the Padres

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 21: Francisco Mejia #27 of the San Diego Padres is greeted by Luis Urias #9 after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field on July 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Yes, the last impression wasn’t exactly the best one.

The Cubs’ offense struggled and failed to pick up a strong effort from starter Kyle Hendricks. Then the bullpen collapsed in the ninth inning, turning what could have been an interesting ending to their series finale into the Padres into a foregone conclusion.

But a 5-1 defeat to San Diego Sunday at Wrigley Field doesn’t erase what has been a positive start to the second half of the 2019 season. It merely is one negative part of a stretch where the Cubs shook off a difficult stretch before the All-Star break, finishing the nine-game homestand with a 7-2 record.

They also continue to hold their lead in the NL Central, which at the end of the game sat at 2 1/2 games ahead of both the Cardinals and the Brewers in the standings.

Sunday was a bit of a letdown considering the drama of back-to-back 6-5 wins the day before, in which the Cubs showed home run power and late-inning savvy to pick up victories. Today the only run they could muster against Padres’ pitching was a first inning groundout by Anthony Rizzo.

Cal Quantrill led the way for the San Diego pitching staff, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings after coming into the game in the third inning, striking out six Cubs batters.

Kyle Hendricks did his part to hold down the Padres over seven innings allowing just two runs – an RBI single by Fernando Tatis Jr. in the fifth and a Francisco Mejia homer in the seventh. But those would be enough for him to take the hard luck loss as the Cubs offense did nothing.

If anything, the most discouraging part of the contest came in the ninth, when Kyle Ryan and Carl Edwards Jr. failed to keep the Cubs down by a run. After the former allowed two runners on, Edwards allowed the Padres to load the bases with two outs, and with two strikes hit Greg Garcia to bring in a third run.

He then allowed a two-run RBI single to left by Tatis that put the game away.

It was a bit of a dud to end an otherwise good homestand, one in which the Cubs gained some positive vibes to start the second half of the season.

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