Chris Young pitched five scoreless innings and got help from Max Venable and the bullpen as the San Diego Padres picked up a much-needed 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and kept San Diego (88-70) two games behind the San Francisco Giants for the NL West lead with four games remaining. The Giants posted a 3-1 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
The Padres remain 1 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves (90-69) for the wild card after the Braves recorded a 5-1 triumph over the Florida Marlins.
The Padres close the season with three games in San Francisco after the final contest of the four-game series with the Cubs on Thursday.
Young (2-0), who was making just his fourth start of the season because of shoulder problems, allowed just three hits and two walks and struck out six to lower his ERA to 0.90 in 20 innings.
The result could have been different if not for center fielder Venable. He took a home run bid away from Alfonso Soriano in the second and reached with his right arm three feet over the left-center field wall in the fourth to rob Aramis Ramirez of a two-run blast.
While Young and Venable kept the Cubs off the board, Chase Headley opened the scoring with an RBI single in the second. Ryan Ludwick led off the fourth with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch that should have been blocked by Cubs cather Koyie Hill. David Eckstein plated another run with a double in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
The National League's best bullpen took it from there. Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and closer Heath Bell retired 12 of 13 batters they faced to close out the Padres' 20th shutout of the season. Bell recorded his 45th save and 32nd straight.
Randy Wells (8-14) pitched well in a losing effort for Chicago, allowing three runs and six hits in seven frames.