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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, August 6th (All times eastern)

Chicago Cubs (43-63) at San Diego Padres (46-64), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90) San Diego - Eric Stults (1-2, 3.19)

(Sports Network) - Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano may be closing in on a few milestones, but his team is struggling along the way.

Soriano and the Cubs look to halt a five-game slide when they invade Petco Park tonight for the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Chicago dropped its fifth straight game in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as Hanley Ramirez plated Matt Kemp with the game-winning RBI single off losing pitcher Shawn Camp in the bottom of the ninth inning. Justin Germano started the game for the Cubs and pitched well, allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Former Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo hit a game-tying solo homer in the top of the ninth and drove in three runs for the Cubs, losers in four straight away from Wrigley Field as well.

"That was a great game to play," Rizzo said. "Both starters pitched well. Hitting a home run is always good."

Rizzo, who landed in Chicago during the offseason and played well for San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in Tucson last year, leads National League rookies with nine home runs and 23 RBI.

Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters made their major league debuts for the Cubs in Sunday's loss. Jackson went 2-for-4 and Vitters flew out as a pinch-hitter in his only plate appearance.

Soriano drove in two runs on the day and needs nine RBI for 1,000 in his career. He also is one home run shy of having at least 20 for the 11th year in a row, which would allow him to join Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as the only players to hit 20 or more homers in each of their first six seasons as a Cub.

The lanky slugger has gone deep 19 times since mid-May.

Travis Wood will handle pitching duties tonight for the Cubs and could use a pop or two from Soriano and the rest of the bunch. Wood is mired in a personal four-game losing streak and hasn't won since July 6. In an 8-4 loss to Pittsburgh last Wednesday, he tossed five innings of two-run ball and is just 4-7 with a 4.90 ERA in 14 starts.

Wood, who had won four in a row before his recent slide, is 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in four career games (3 starts) against the Padres.

San Diego enters this series on a high note after taking two of three matchups with the New York Mets.

Jason Marquis earned the win in Sunday's 7-3 triumph over New York after allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He was backed by home runs from Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso.

Alonso entered the game batting .378 with a .649 slugging percentage in a nine-game stretch since July 27.

"I got some quick outs, defense made some good plays and (we) put some runs on early and made it a little easier," said Marquis.

San Diego closer Huston Street struck out two in a scoreless ninth and last allowed a run on June 17 at Oakland. He is riding an 18 1/3 scoreless-innings streak over his last 19 appearances, and is a perfect 18-for-18 in save situations this year.

The Padres have now won seven of their last nine home games.

Eric Stults draws the start for the Friars tonight and is 1-2 with a 3.19 earned run average through eight games (4 starts) this season. He hasn't recorded a decision in each of his last four trips to the hill and gave up two runs, one of which was earned, in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-4 loss at Cincinnati last Thursday.

The left-hander lost to the Cubs back on May 29 and is 0-3 with a 7.24 ERA in three career starts against them.

Chicago swept a three-game series versus San Diego from May 28-30 at Wrigley Field and has won four of the last five meetings between the teams.

08/06 10:49:05 ET

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