San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Ryan Dempster pitched seven solid frames and Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of home runs, as Chicago continued to play spoiler with a 5-2 victory over San Diego in the second of three games at Petco Park.
Following their 1-0 victory on Monday, the Cubs did it again with the solid pitching of Dempster (15-11), who gave up just the two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and two walks. Marlon Byrd was on base four times and Soriano knocked in three for the Cubs.
Carlos Marmol worked around a two-out walk to notch his 36th save of the season.
Mat Latos (14-9) took the loss, giving up four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks over 5 2/3 frames. Nick Hundley's two- run home run accounted for the Padres offense. San Diego posted just one more hit -- four -- than errors in losing its third straight and dropping two games behind San Francisco in the National League West race and 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the wild card race. Both of those teams won on Tuesday.
The Cubs struck first in the fifth with the aid of some shoddy Padres defense. Koyie Hill reached on a fielding error and moved to second on Dempster's sacrifice bunt. He scored on Kosuke Fukudome's double on a 1-1 hanging slider then Starlin Castro legged out a single. Fukudome scored when Miguel Tejada's throw to first sailed, giving the Cubs two runs with the help of two San Diego miscues.
San Diego answered in the home fifth. Chase Headley worked a walk then Dempster fell behind 3-0 on Hundley. He fought back to a full count but left a splitter up, and Hundley deposited it just over the wall in left.
The tie game didn't last long. In the sixth, Xavier Nady roped a single to left and Soriano crushed a first-pitch fastball to the deepest part of cavernous Petco Park in center field for a two-run home run and a 4-2 game.
The Padres put their first two runners on base in the seventh thanks to a Matt Stairs ground-rule double and a walk issued to Headley. Dempster then bared down, striking out Hundley, Chris Denorfia and finally Yorvit Torrealba wildly chasing a low-and-away slider for the third out.
Soriano's solo shot in the eighth added some insurance for a 5-2 margin.
Soriano's two home runs give him 24 on the season...Two days ago, the Padres led the division, but since have lost twice while both San Francisco and Atlanta have won consecutive games...Latos has lost four straight outings after earlier this year setting a big-league record with 15 consecutive starts of at least five innings and yielding two runs or less each time...Dempster improved to 8-4 lifetime versus the Padres.