Stults aims to avoid 12th loss as Padres begin set with Cubs

Eric Stults tries to avoid a 12th loss on Tuesday when the San Diego Padres begin a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Stults is 3-11 on the year with a 4.98 ERA, but went into the All-Star break with a two-game unbeaten streak. After winning for the first time in nine decisions on July 4, Stults received a no-decision on July 9 in Colorado, as he gave up three runs and five hits in five innings of his team's 6-3 loss.


"First inning, first batter, I fell behind, 1-0, and didn't want to fall behind, 2-0," Stults said after the game. "(Charlie Blackmon is) pretty aggressive for a leadoff hitter. With [Troy Tulowitzki], I was trying to throw my fastball off the plate. In that first inning, I was just sort of missing my spots with the fastball. My fastball location today was pretty average."

Stults, who is 0-7 with a 5.44 ERA in 10 road starts, hasn't fared very well against the Cubs and is 1-5 with a 5.15 ERA in seven starts against them.

San Diego enters tonight's matchup after winning the final two games of its three-game set against the New York Mets. Odrisamer Despaigne flirted with a no-hitter in Sunday's finale before the Padres pulled out a 2-1 win.


"He had all four pitches working from different angles. His stuff was good enough to keep them off-balance," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Despaigne pitched 7 2/3 no-hit innings in just his fifth major league start for the Padres. The 27-year-old Cuban's final line included a run on two hits and three walks.

San Diego managed to win the game when Josh Edgin was unable to handle Seth Smith's chopper back to the mound to score Cameron Maybin in the bottom of the ninth.

Chicago, meanwhile, has lost five in a row after getting swept by Arizona over the weekend. The Cubs are comfortably settled in the cellar of the National League Central, 13 1/2 games back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers and 10 games behind fourth-place Cincinnati.

Getting the call for the Cubs on Tuesday will be righty Kyle Hendricks, who will be making his second big league start. Hendricks did not get a decision in his first one against the Reds, as he allowed four runs and five hits in six innings of his team's 6-4 win.

"I thought he handled it well," Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's website. "I thought he handled it better than I did. I was at a point where I felt I was going to get thrown out trying to battle for your pitcher. He battled and he persevered and hung in there. That's what you have to do as a young pitcher."


Chicago split four games with the Padres earlier in the year.


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