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SD@CHC: Medica plates Solarte with ground-rule double

CHICAGO -- As the Padres were in the midst of a loss to the Cubs on Tuesday, Yangervis Solarte was at O'Hare Airport and Jeff Francoeur was perched on a dugout bench in El Paso, both in separate time zones from Wrigley Field.

Yet a pair of pivotal roster shifts -- a trade that sent long-time third baseman Chase Headley to the Yankees and a 25-game suspension to outfielder Cameron Maybin -- brought Solarte and Francoeur to Chicago on Wednesday.

And the two unsung acquisitions proved paramount in the Padres' 8-3 win over the Cubs in a lengthy tussle at chilly Wrigley Field.

Solarte, who went 2-for-4 and played second, brought home the game's first run with a first-inning triple down the right-field line, then scored on a sacrifice fly. The 27-year-old Venezulean followed with a single in the third and walk in the fifth.

Francoeur recorded his first big league hit since Aug. 13 of last year with the Giants, and finished 1-for-3. He scored in the fourth to extend the Padres' lead to 3-0 on an RBI double by Chris Nelson and had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

"Right off the bat, that was great to see," manager Bud Black said. "[Solarte] played with some energy. I think he's excited to be here with the opportunity to come to a new club and make a contribution. He looked good -- everything as advertised."

"Twenty-four hours ago, [Francoeur] would've had two homers," Black said of two deep balls the right fielder hit that were halted by the 16-plus mile-per-hour winds. "Jeff plays with a lot of passion. He has fun when he plays. He's getting an opportunity as well, and he's going to try to make the most of it."

The Padres, who rank last in the Majors with 299 runs scored, churned in eight on Wednesday -- a feat they'd reached only five times prior this season, all wins. The Padres are 31-5 in games in which they score more than four, good for second in the Majors.

Other than Nelson's RBI double in the fourth, the Padres registered three multi-run innings -- two in the first and fifth, and three in the eighth.

First baseman Tommy Medica tied a career high with three hits, including a ground-rule double that merged its way into the pesky ivy in left. Had Cubs center-fielder Arismendy Alcantara emerged with the ball, Medica likely would have had a triple.

"I think that probably hurt us a little bit," Black said.

Other than a three-run homer by Luis Valbuena, right-hander Ian Kennedy held off a Chicago lineup that started seven lefties.

"As a righty, you kind of go through that," Kennedy said. "This team likes to platoon a lot of guys, and they've always done that. So I knew kind of going into it that I was going to face a completely different lineup than I saw [Eric] Stults face yesterday."

Kennedy, who struggled through the first half of the season, is now 3-0 in July with a 2.53 ERA in five starts. He threw 101 pitches over six innings, allowing three hits and a season-high five walks while fanning six. He advanced to 5-2 in his career vs. the Cubs and picked up his 12th quality start of the season.

The Carlos Quentin injury woes continued when he left after five innings due to sore knees, which Black said have been bothering the nine-year outfielder "over the last week or so."

"We're going to try to guide him through here in the short-term," Black said. "We'll try to play him against a lefty. He'll be a bat off the bench here in the short-term. But the knees are a little bit cranky right now."

The Padres (44-56) can win their second straight series with a victory over the Cubs (41-58) on Thursday -- the final regular season meeting between the two, who have each won three against the other.

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