SAN DIEGO -- It was more than a sweep, it was a demonstration.
"They're good," Padres manager Andy Green offered after the Cubs defeated the Padres 6-3 Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park to complete a three-game blitz of San Diego.
"They have good baseball instincts. They execute even small things at a high level. They've done a great job of stocking it up quickly. They've made a drastic turn-around since 2013."
Wednesday's series finale was a carbon-copy of the Cubs' first two wins in the series. Chicago had better hitting, pitching and defense than the Padres, who are battling to stay out of the basement in the National League West while in full rebuilding mode.
Right-hander Kyle Hendricks allowed two runs on four hits over six innings and second baseman Ben Zobrist hit a two-run triple and scored two runs Wednesday as the Cubs ran their record to 22-5 over their last 27 games.
The Cubs out-scored the Padres 16-7 in the three games as Cubs pitchers held the San Diego hitters to 16 hits.
Hendricks (12-7) issued two walks and struck out eight Padres. Left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman picked up his second save in as many games, giving him nine with the Cubs and 29 on the season.
Meanwhile, the Cubs started the game as if it were going to be a blitz, taking a 3-0 lead in the game's first four hitters.
"We came out nicely in the first," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. "That gave us an edge and Kyle ran with it. I thought Kyle would be good this season, but he's been better than I expected."
The Padres rallied from their 3-0 deficit by scoring single runs in the second and third. But Hendricks retired 12 of the last 14 Padres he faced.
"After I got into the third, I finally started getting the ball down with movement on my two-seamer," said Hendricks, whose 2.19 earned run average is the lowest in the Major Leagues. "I was on a roll from there."
The Cubs' first three hitters lined extra-base hits off right-hander Paul Clemens, who has struggled in the first inning in most of his eight Padres starts.
Dexter Fowler opened the game with a double to right center. Kris Bryant followed with a double off the wall in center, although Fowler had to hold up to see if the ball was caught and only reached third.
Zobrist followed with a triple to left-center and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Jorge Soler, who was the first hitter retired by Clemens (2-3).
"The first inning has been the story of my last two outings," said Clemens. "Finding a way to minimize that would have been big."
"Clemens was as good as he's been after three hitters," said Green. "He has to get a feel for his curveball earlier."
After the first, Clemens settled in -- he retired 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced -- the Padres rallied and threatened to tie the score.
Ryan Schimpf opened the bottom of the second with a triple to right center and scored on Brett Wallace's sacrifice fly. Travis Jankowski singled to lead off the Padres fourth and scored on a triple by Wil Myers, putting the tying run on third with none out.
But that is where the game started to turn against the Padres. Myers never moved off third. Hendricks retired Yangervis Solarte and Alex Dickerson on high pop flies to third then struck out Schimpf to end the inning. Hendricks struck out six while retiring 12 of the last 14 hitters he faced.
Meanwhile the Cubs scored two more runs against Clemens and got a lead-off homer by catcher Willson Contreras leading off the seventh against Padres left-handed reliever Brad Hand.
Clemens, who departed the game after Russell's at-bat, allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and no walks with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Contreras, who got Wednesday afternoon's start after also catching Tuesday night's game because Maddon liked the way he neutralized the Padres' running game, hit his eighth homer of the season, going the opposite way with a 379-foot drive into the right field stands.
The Padres pulled to within three runs of the Cubs in the bottom of the eighth when Trevor Cahill issued a two-out walk to Dickerson and Schimpf followed with a RBI double.
NOTES: The sweep of the Padres improved the Cubs August record to 18-4. The .818 winning percentage is well ahead of the franchise record for August of .786 (22-6) set by the 1932 team. ... Cubs starting pitchers are 15-1 in August with an earned run average of 1.83 . . . 1B Anthony Rizzo didn't start for the Cubs Wednesday afternoon as a regularly-scheduled day off. ... The Cubs have scored three or more runs in 23 straight games, although their streak of hitting at least two home runs in a game was snapped at seven. ... The series sweep was the Cubs' sixth since the All-Star break. ... Padres manager Andy Green said because the minor league seasons end before RHP Tyson Ross can be fully lengthened out on a rehab assignment, he'll probably make shorter starts when he rejoins the Padres in September. ... Nineteen-year-old Padres' 2B prospect Luis Urias was named both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year in the Advanced Single-A California League.