Cubs offense falters in sixth straight loss

837431.png

Cubs offense falters in sixth straight loss

SAN DIEGO -- Eric Stults and four relievers combined on a five-hitter, leading the San Diego Padres to a 2-0 win over the slumping Chicago Cubs on Monday night.Stults (2-2) allowed five hits as he pitched 5 1-3 innings in his first start since June 3. He struck out five, walked two and had a wild pitch.Yonder Alonso and Everth Cabrera each drove in a run and the Padres won for just the fourth time in 10 games. Chicago lost its sixth straight.Brad Brach, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street combined for 3 2-3 innings of no-hit relief, finished San Diego's seventh shutout.Street pitched the ninth for his 19th save.Carlos Quentin reached on a one-out double in the fourth inning and scored on Alonso's single. After Cameron Maybin followed with a double, Alonso scored when Cabrera's soft liner deflected off the glove of Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney for an infield single.Chicago was not able to take advantage of the few scoring chances it had, going 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and stranding seven runners overall.Travis Wood (4-8) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. The lefty struck out three and walked three with a wild pitch.The Cubs' two prized prospects - Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters - both started and had tough nights.Jackson, who got two hits in his major league debut Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, struck out four times. Vitters, who also debuted Sunday as a pinch hitter, was 0 for 4, including a groundout to end the sixth inning with runners at second and third.Since his last start, Stults spent time on the disabled list with a strained left lat and made his last four appearances out of the bullpen. He was inserted into the rotation after Kip Wells was designated for assignment on Friday.NOTES:
Cubs RHP Matt Garza (right elbow stress) was placed on the 15-day DL and will be out "indefinitely," according to GM Jed Hoyer. . San Diego has won eight times in its last 10 home games. . Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo made his return to San Diego for the first time since the Padres dealt him to Chicago for RHP Andrew Cashner in a four-player deal in January. Rizzo, who went 0 for 4, was the centerpiece for San Diego in the four-player deal when he was acquired from Boston for 1B Adrian Gonzalez before the 2011 season. But after his highly anticipated arrival in San Diego in June 2011, the lefty hit just .141 with one home run and nine RBIs in 128 at-bats. Asked before the game if spacious Petco Park had anything to do with his poor offensive showing, Rizzo said, "The ballpark could have been a T-ball field and I wouldn't have hit the ball. I just wasn't hitting the ball." . Cubs LHP Brooks Raley will make his major league debut on Tuesday night against LHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA).
Complete Recap Box Score

Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

9-24_dustin_johnson_kevin_chappell.jpg

Dustin Johnson, Kevin Chappell tied for lead at Tour Championship

ATLANTA (AP) — Dustin Johnson had a reasonable lie in the rough and only a few pine tree branches blocking his path to the 17th green. Neither seemed like a problem until he played the wrong shot, clipped the tree and wound up with a double bogey Saturday in the Tour Championship.

It was an example of how one hole can change everything at East Lake.

And it's why the final round of the PGA Tour season suddenly has more scenarios than Johnson cares to consider.

Johnson recovered with a birdie from the bunker on the par-5 18th for a 1-under 69, giving him a share of the lead with Kevin Chappell (68) going into the last round that will determine who wins the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

For the first time since 2009, there's a chance it might not be the same player.

"There's a lot of scenarios that could happen," Johnson said. "But yeah, I'm still going to go out and try to shoot as low a score as possible."

Johnson only has to win or finish second alone to claim the $10 million bonus as the FedEx Cup champion.

Rory McIlroy, who has gone 28 holes without a bogey at East Lake, had three birdies over his last six holes for a 66 and was two shots behind. If he were to win the Tour Championship and Johnson finished in a two-way tie for second or worse, McIlroy would claim the FedEx Cup.

"It would just be great to try to win the Tour Championship, and if the chips fall my way, then so be it," McIlroy said.

The winner of the Tour Championship has won the FedEx Cup every year since 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the tournament and Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.

Johnson led by as many as four shots when he ran off three straight birdies on the front nine, and he really didn't do much wrong to give up the size of that lead. He had a three-putt from 70 feet on No. 13, and missed the fairway by a few feet on the next hole, enough that his ball was buried so deep that even Johnson and his power couldn't advance more than about 135 yards.

It was the 17th hole that reshaped the tournament.

Johnson tried to played a fade from a flyer lie in the rough, and the ball came out high and hit a branch, leaving him in more rough about 60 yards short of the green. He put that in the bunker, blasted out to 6 feet and missed the putt to make double bogey.

Chappell rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt for a three-shot swing on the hole and suddenly had the lead, only for Johnson to catch him with the final birdie.

They were at 8-under 202.

Chappell, a runner-up three times this season who has never won on the PGA Tour, has made only one bogey in 54 holes this week, a show of consistency, discipline and a few good breaks when he does miss the fairway.

His next chance at a breakthrough victory is to face golf's best player at the moment (Johnson), with McIlroy and Ryan Moore (66) two shots behind.

"I've always kind of been the underdog, so it's a role I'm comfortable in," Chappell said.

Moore went out in 31 until he was slowed by a pair of bogeys, though very much in the mix just two shots out of the lead. The mystery is whether anything he does on Sunday - even if that means a victory - is enough for Davis Love III to use his last captain's pick on Moore for the Ryder Cup.

"I came here this week to win a golf tournament, and I'm 100 percent focused on that," Moore said, adding that the Ryder Cup is "completely out of my control."

And that's how the last day is shaping up for everyone - post a score and see where it leads.

Johnson, for a moment, looked as though he might take all the drama out of the season-ender when he made a 15-foot par putt early in his round and then ran off three straight birdies on the front nine to go four shots clear.

The putter cooled off, however, and Chappell stayed in range.

Chappell chipped in on No. 12 to match birdies and stay three shots behind, and then he quickly closed the gap when Johnson made back-to-back bogeys, only to respond with a 4-iron over the water to a peninsula green on the par-3 15th to 15 feet for birdie.

The 17th hole changed everything.

"I thought about just trying to hit it in the front bunker, which I probably should have done - probably would have made 4 if I'd have done that," Johnson said. "But it is what it is. I came back and birdied the last hole, tied for the lead going into tomorrow. I like my position."

And he doesn't need a degree in math to figure out the easiest scenario - just win.

Morning Update: White Sox snap losing streak, Cubs blown out by Cardinals

Morning Update: White Sox snap losing streak, Cubs blown out by Cardinals

Complete Bears-Cowboys coverage on CSN

White Sox snap six-game losing streak behind Jose Quintana

After locking up homefield advantage, Cubs flummoxed by Cardinals in blowout loss

Bears vs. Cowboys: And the winner is...

Brian Kelly puts Notre Dame players on notice after brutal loss to Duke

Alexandre Fortin taking advantage of Blackhawks tryout

Cubs: Miguel Montero plays 'psychologist' to get the most out of Jake Arrieta

Bears reactive offense in need of radical reversal

Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen appreciates interview opportunities

White Sox: Tim Anderson adjusting to 'grind' of first MLB season