Chris Rusin #18 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on August 25, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO — The Chicago Cubs left San Diego for their bus ride to Los Angeles at an hour in which traffic wasn’t bad. That doesn’t mean the ride wouldn’t be a long one.
Their Sunday had the potential to be much better. Chicago broke open a scoreless game with two runs in the 13th inning, but San Diego got even in its half, and the Padres escaped with a 3-2 victory with a run in the 15th.
The Cubs have lost 11 of 14, including an 8-6 defeat on Friday in which they squandered a 6-0 lead.
One positive from Sunday was the performance of starting pitcher Chris Rusin. The lefty was long gone when San Diego walked off with a win. He spent most of the afternoon watching the game on TV in the clubhouse, as his teammates failed to put away the Padres.
But that didn’t overshadow his latest fine outing. Rusin pitched 6 1-3 innings and allowed three hits and four walks. He made the key pitches when he needed to, and kept his record at 2-3 while lowering his ERA to 2.64. He is 0-2 in his last three starts despite a 2.00 ERA.
“My offspeed and fastballs today were good,” Rusin said. “I could throw them at any count, and that’s what helped me get through the game.”
Rusin continues to be a road highlight for a team that is under .500 away from Wrigley Field. He has thrown 19 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings on the road, spanning three starts. According to STATS, he is the first Cubs rookie starter since day-to-day data became available in 1974, to put together a scoreless away streak as long.
“He was great,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He kept the ball down and there was not a lot of hard contact.”
The Cubs grabbed a 2-0 lead in the 13th thanks in part to Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman hitting Nick Schierholtz’s helmet with a throw after Schierholtz left the batter’s box on what looked to be a potential bases-loaded, double play.
“I’ve never seen that one before,” Sveum said.
Schierholtz said he got out of the box in an awkward manner because he tweaked his back on the swing. Then he got plunked by Guzman.
“Just a nightmare of a play,” said Schierholtz, who said his back and head are probably fine.
The Padres tied it when Ronny Cedeno made a daring dash to the plate on Kevin Gregg’s wild pitch after Cedeno had tripled with two outs.
“I don’t think Ronny saw (the ball) immediately,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “Where he is, where the ball is and where the catcher is, it’s not a great view. You don’t know how far the ball is going to come toward our dugout.
“He picked it up and made a decision to go. But if there was a good throw and tag, he probably would have been out.”
Logan Forsythe set up the winning hit with a one-out single against Hector Rondon (2-1). He moved up on a groundout before Alexi Amarista was intentionally walked.
Nick Hundley then lined a clean single into center field, and Forsythe scored easily, giving San Diego its third win in four games. Dale Thayer (2-3) wiggled out of a jam in the top half to get the victory.
The game lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes, and the teams combined to use 15 pitchers. But it wasn’t even the longest game of the weekend: Arizona beat Philadelphia 12-7 in 18 innings on Saturday night.
NOTES: Cubs C Welington Castillo was back in the lineup after missing three games with bruised ribs. … Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo will remain in the No. 2 spot in the order. Rizzo, according to Sveum, has sparked the offense the last four games. “We’re scored six, four, six and three,” Sveum said before Sunday’s game. “I’m not changing anything.” … The Padres will start Tyson Ross on Monday when they open a two-city, six-game road trip in Arizona. … The Padres aren’t sure on their starting pitcher for Wednesday. With veteran RHP Edinson Volquez recently designated for assignment, the Padres are juggling their rotation and considering various options.