Rivas’ key hit vs hometown Padres lifts Cubs to 7-5 win

Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres
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SAN DIEGO – Chicago Cubs first baseman Alfonso Rivas had quite the homecoming.

Playing against his hometown San Diego Padres for the first time, Rivas hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning to lift the banged-up Cubs to a 7-5 victory on Wednesday.

Willson Contreras homered for the Cubs, who took two of three from the Padres after arriving in town with a season-high, five-game losing streak. Frank Schwindel hit a two-run double in Chicago’s four-run fourth.

Rivas, who grew up in Tijuana and Chula Vista, came up with the bases loaded and singled up the middle off Luis Garcia (0-2). Rivas hit a two-run homer in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss that bounced out of the glove of rookie center fielder Jose Azocar and went over the fence.

“We’re going through some tough patches as a team so coming here and taking the series from a pretty good club, it’s awesome,” Rivas said. “It feels good. I think we’ve turned the page, giving us confidence for the next series.”

Rivas said he left “a good amount” of tickets for every game.

“I had a lot of family and friends here supporting. That’s awesome,” he said.

Rivas was called up late last season, so it was the first time he played in San Diego as a major leaguer. If he was nervous at all, it didn’t show.

He said his approach on his go-ahead hit was “just stay calm. Wait for your pitch, a pitch in your zone, don’t really freak out. Have confidence. The approach that I have that’s going to pay off.”

Standing on first base, he felt “just the excitement after a big hit. The game’s going back and forth. Just the emotions that get the best of you,” Rivas said.

“He’s a great hitter,” Contreras said. “From day one that I met him I knew that he was going to be somebody special. His approach is really good, his swing is really good.”

One-time Padres pitcher Rowan Wick got a six-out save, striking out Manny Machado to end the eighth with a runner on second. It was his second save in as many chances.

The Padres announced during the game that manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery and is expected to make a full recovery. Melvin said Tuesday that he hoped to miss only the first six games of the Padres’ forthcoming nine-game road trip.

San Diego tied it at 5 on solo homers by Eric Hosmer and Luke Voit in the seventh.

Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner departed with a sprained right ankle an inning after colliding with second base umpire Dan Iassogna in center field. The Cubs, who have a crowded injured list, were without outfielder Seiya Suzuki for the second straight game due to a sore right ankle.

Hoerner was running to get into relay position after Jurickson Profar hit a fly ball over center fielder’s Jason Heyward‘s head for a triple when he collided with Iassogna. Hoerner was on the ground in pain after the collision in the first inning and was tended to by a trainer. He batted in the second and struck out, and then was replaced in the bottom half of the inning by Ildemaro Vargas.

With the Padres trailing 5-3, Hosmer connected with one out in the seventh against Mychal Givens (2-0) and Voit went deep with two outs. It was the seventh career multihomer game for Voit, who was batting .136 and in an 0-for-29 slump coming in. Voit, who recently missed 14 games with a biceps tendon injury, has struck out 18 times this season.

Contreras homered off Nick Martinez with one out in the first, his fourth. San Diego went ahead 2-1 on Hosmer’s RBI single in the first and Voit’s first homer with the Padres, leading off the second.

The Cubs jumped on Martinez for four runs in the fourth. Contreras keyed the inning by drawing a leadoff walk and then taking second on a wild pitch by sliding around the tag of Machado in the shift, touching the bag with his right hand.

Contreras scored the tying run on Patrick Wisdom‘s one-out single, and Schwindel doubled to center with two outs for the lead. Heyward added an RBI single.

Machado extended his on-base streak to 21 games.

Cubs spot starter Keegan Thompson permitted two runs and five hits in four innings.

Martinez allowed five runs and four hits in four innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Placed LHP Sean Newcomb on the 15-day injured list with a sprained left ankle. The team said he got hurt while he was in the outfield Sunday during batting practice. RHP Mark Leiter Jr. was recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

Padres: Third-base coach Matt Williams entered COVID-19 protocols. First-base coach David Macias moved to third base and Morgan Burkhart coached at first base.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Drew Smyly (1-3, 3.04 ERA) and Arizona RHP Zach Davies (1-1, 3.34 ERA) are the probables for Friday night’s series opener in Phoenix.

Padres: RHP Yu Darvish (3-1, 4.05 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Atlanta. The Braves are expected to start former Padres farmhand Max Fried (4-2, 2.68 ERA).