Shota Imanaga Gives Up Two Runs and Struck Out Eight in Seven Innings; Cubs Beat Padres 3-2

AP Photo/Erin Hooley
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Shota Imanaga reacts to striking out San Diego Padres’ Xander Bogaerts during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Chicago.

CHICAGO (AP) — Michael Busch led off the ninth inning with a game-ending home run, Cody Bellinger went deep in his return from broken ribs and the Chicago Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Bellinger had three hits after missing two weeks. He gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead when he connected leading off the fourth against Randy Vásquez.

It stayed that way until the eighth, when the Padres got to Shota Imanaga after he sailed through the first seven innings.

AP Photo/Erin Hooley
Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga throws to a San Diego Padres batter during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Chicago.

He gave up a leadoff single to pinch hitter Luis Arraez before Jurickson Profar chased him with a two-run drive that just cleared the left-field wall. The Padres had a man on third with two out when second baseman Nico Hoerner raced back to make a lunging grab on Xander Bogaerts’ bloop, saving another run.

The Cubs tied it in the bottom half when Mike Tauchman walked leading off against Yuki Matsui, took third on Bellinger’s single and scored on Christopher Morel’s sacrifice fly.

Chicago’s Héctor Neris (2-0) pitched out of a jam in the ninth, when he retired Jackson Merrill on a pop fly with runners on first and second.

Busch won it in the bottom half when he drove the first pitch he saw from Enyel De Los Santos (1-2) out to right for his first career game-ending homer. He got mobbed by his teammates as he crossed the plate.

Imanaga came through with another solid outing after winning his previous four starts. The Japanese left-hander gave up two runs and seven hits, struck out eight and walked one.

Bellinger got a warm reception during introductions and really had the crowd cheering when he connected against Vásquez. He drove a 3-2 pitch to the right-field bleachers for his sixth home run of the season.

It was a sweet return for Bellinger, who fractured two ribs on his right side when he ran into the center field wall at Wrigley Field trying to make a play against the Houston Astros on April 23. The 2019 NL MVP had been heating up prior to the injury, going 10 for 30 with three homers and seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

Vásquez went 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run and five hits in his third start this season. The right-hander struck out six and walked none, after being recalled Sunday from Triple-A El Paso with Joe Musgrove going on the injured list because of right elbow inflammation.


Cubs: Manager Craig Counsell said the Cubs planned to have Bellinger serve as the DH on Tuesday and probably Wednesday before deciding whether to play him in the field.

The Cubs placed RHP Daniel Palencia (strained right shoulder) on the 15-day injured list. … OF Seiya Suzuki (strained right oblique) was headed to Iowa to play Wednesday and Thursday and could return this weekend at Pittsburgh, Counsell said.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki works out before the team’s baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Chicago.