After a rare outburst, the San Diego Padres' offense came back to earth.
That figures to bode well for Chicago's Jason Hammel as he pitches for the first time since suffering a scare in his last outing.
The Cubs try to win their first road series of the season Sunday behind Hammel against San Diego.
The Padres (22-28) tallied 12 hits and scored their most runs of the season in Friday's 11-1 victory. However, they reverted to the form fit for baseball's lowest-scoring offense Saturday, recording three hits in a 3-2 loss. It was the sixth time San Diego, which has totaled 12 runs in its losses during a 1-5 stretch, has recorded just three hits -- tied with Milwaukee and Seattle for the most games with three or fewer.
Carlos Quentin's second pinch-hit homer in his last three appearances drove in both runs in the eighth. He is 5 for 13 with four RBIs, missing the club's first 39 games with a bruised left knee, then sitting out four straight prior to Saturday with a groin injury.
"He makes us better," manager Bud Black said. "He's arguably our best offensive player each and every night he is in the game."
The Cubs (18-29), who have won five of seven but are 8-16 on the road, had reason to be alarmed in Hammel's start Tuesday against the Yankees. Brett Gardner's line drive struck his pitching hand in the game's first at-bat.
Hammel (5-2, 2.91 ERA) recovered and limited New York to a run in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-1 victory, his first win in four starts. X-rays performed on Hammel's hand were negative.
"It's just swollen," Hammel told the team's official website Wednesday. "I would assume a couple days of soreness. I think it'll be all right."
The right-hander is 4-2 despite a 5.03 ERA in 12 games -- 11 starts -- against the Padres, though he's 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts at Petco Park.
The Padres turn to Ian Kennedy (2-6, 3.79), who has a 6.39 ERA in losing his last two starts after going 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his previous four outings. He gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday and was charged with two wild pitches which both led to runs. His five wild pitches are tied for the third-most in the National League.
"When you are trying to throw curveballs down in the dirt, it's going to happen," said Kennedy, who is winless in six home starts with a 4.42 ERA. "I'm trying to bury it when I am ahead, I'm trying to make good pitches. It's kind of disappointing in those situations."
Kennedy is 3-2 with a 6.33 ERA in eight career outings versus Chicago, recording just one quality start. He has allowed at least one home run in each matchup.