Cease dominates Cubs, Padres win series

May 8, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) delivers a pitch against against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Wrigley Field- Chicago, IL

The Padres and Cubs squared off for the rubber match of the three-game set at Wrigley Field. This also marked the final time these two NL teams will face off during the regular season. The Padres needed a win to clinch the season series, which could be key for a possible tiebreaker scenario at the end of the season.

Seeking that season series win, Dylan Cease took the mound for the Padres. San Diego desperately needed him to go deep into the game with a battered and bruised pitching staff. The Cubs countered with Hayden Wesneski.

Cease, and the Padres bullpen dominated the Cubs to the tune of a 3-0 shutout.

The Padres got off to a strong start. After Luis Arraez reached base on a hit by pitch, Manny Machado singled him home after he reached scoring position. This gave the Friars an early 1-0 lead after half an inning.

Both Cease and Wesneski settled in for something of a pitcher’s duel after that. The game remained 1-0 until the top of the fifth. Luis Campusano led off with a single. After reaching second on a single by Arraez, the Padres catcher scored on a base hit by Fernando Tatis Jr. Jake Cronenworth followed that up with an excellent plate appearance that led to an RBI double, scoring Arraez. That pushed the lead to three.

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For parts of the 2024 season thus far, the Padres have struggled with “shutdown innings,” meaning they tended to allow teams to answer with runs right after scoring runs themselves. Cease came out after the Padres bats gave him two more runs and proceeded to strike out the side in the bottom of the fifth.

Cease went on to a dominant outing. The only hit he allowed in seven shutout innings was an infield hit. He walked two and struck out 12, which is a season-high for a Padres starting pitcher. It was one of the best performances by a Padres starting pitcher since Joe Musgrove‘s no-hitter in 2021.

Arraez reached base three times with two singles and a hit by pitch, scoring twice. Cronenworth added a single to his RBI double. Six different Padres had at least one hit.

Wandy Peralta worked a clean eighth. That set the stage for Robert Suarez getting a save opportunity in the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead. Suarez needed just 11 pitches to set down the Cubs 1-2-3 and seal the win for the Padres.

This marked a series win against the Cubs. The Padres are now at .500 at 20-20, with a day off tomorrow before a weekend series in San Diego against the first-place Dodgers.

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