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SF@SD: Cashner keeps Giants in check over six frames

A January 2012 trade between the Cubs and Padres will be in the spotlight on Wednesday night, when the clubs meet in the third contest of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

The two premiere pieces of that deal, pitcher Andrew Cashner and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, figure to square off multiple times. Cashner will get the ball for the Padres as he makes his second career start at Wrigley and first against his former club.

The Padres evened the series with a 13-7 win on Tuesday and have won five of their past six. The Cubs, who will counter Cashner with Scott Feldman, have won four of six.

Cashner was the Cubs' first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and spent time with the big league club in 2010 and '11, starting only once in 60 appearances. Then he was dealt for Rizzo, in a trade that also involved a pair of Minor Leaguers.

The 26-year-old, who made two relief appearances against the Cubs last year, said he doesn't treat pitching at his former home park differently. But he does appreciate its uniqueness.

"It's a cool place to play. A lot of history here," Cashner said. "Babe Ruth walked through here, and all the All-Stars. You kinda sit down and take all that in when you get here. It's in a neighborhood. It's a unique ballpark. Obviously, here and Fenway are probably the two ballparks to be in, as old as they are and the history they have."

Cashner (1-1, 3.26 ERA) began the season in the bullpen before shifting to the rotation. In two starts, he has given up three runs on seven hits in 10 innings, with two walks and 10 strikeouts. His last time out, he upped his innings from four to six and his pitch count from 65 to 83.

"I started out as a long [relief] guy, so I was able to go multiple innings," Cashner said. "But you just keep pitching and your pitch count gets up and you get built up."

Cashner and Rizzo have faced each other only once so far, with Cashner getting the strikeout. Rizzo is off to a slow start this season, although he doubled three times on Tuesday and has notched multiple hits in three of his last five games.

Feldman (1-3, 3.92) picked up his first Cubs victory in his last start, holding the Marlins to two runs in 6 2/3 innings on Friday in Miami. Of the 16 runs the right-hander has allowed this season, only nine have been earned.

Padres: April much kinder to Hundley
• Catcher Nick Hundley finished last April with a .217/.300/.362 batting line, the start of a tough season that included a stint in the Minors.

After going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs on Tuesday, Hundley closed the opening month of 2013 at .329/.357/.544. Since April 9, he is hitting .375 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

• San Diego reached double digits in runs scored for the first time this season on Tuesday, after topping three runs only twice in its previous 10 contests.

Cubs: So close, yet so far
The Cubs' 13-7 loss on Tuesday snapped a season-opening streak of 25 straight games decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record and the second-most all time in Major League history. With all of those close games, the club's record easily could be much better than 10-16.

"We know what our starting pitching can be every night," manager Dale Sveum said. "If we can go through a stretch in the next 25 games with our starting pitching being as good as they have been in the first 25 games, then you know you'll be in games, and if our offense heats up and we start getting more timely hitting and we start busting some games open, you win some of those [close] games."

The Cubs also have been hurt by 21 errors and the Majors' lowest batting average with runners in scoring position.

"The biggest thing right now why we're 10-15 and not 15-10 is just timely hitting," Sveum said before Tuesday's loss. "Twenty-five games in a row have been decided by four runs or less. You get a little more timely hitting and you hit .250 instead of .150, that's a lot of runs in 25 games."

Worth noting
• Feldman's only career start against the Padres came last season, when he held them to two runs over six innings while pitching for the Rangers.

• Tuesday marked only the second time this season the Cubs have surrendered more than seven runs in a game, and the first time in one that didn't go extra innings.

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