Cubs End Season With Loss to Padres - NBC Chicago
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Cubs End Season With Loss to Padres

San Diego 9, Chicago 2



    Celebrate This Holiday Season in Lively St. Charles
    Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster works against the San Diego Padres in the first inning.

    Will Venable hit his first career grand slam and Nick Hundley hit a three-run shot to lift the normally punchless San Diego Padres to a 9-2, season-ending victory over the Chicago Cubs.

    Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro became the youngest player -- at 21 years, 188 days --  to lead the NL with 207 hits. He doubled in the eighth to reach base in a career-high 40 straight games and extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

    The teams both finished 71-91.

    The late power surge might not be enough to save hitting coach Randy Ready's job. Since moving into spacious Petco Park in 2004, the Padres have fired their hitting coach three times and would have dismissed Wally Joyner in 2008 if he hadn't resigned with six games left.

    Despite the two homers, the Padres finished with a major league-low 91 homers. The Padres and Astros (95) were the only big league teams with fewer than 100.

    Venable and Hundley tied Cameron Maybin for the team home run lead with nine.

    Venable hit an opposite-field slam to left to chase Ryan Dempster in the sixth. Dempster retired the first two batters before loading the bases on singles by Andy Parrino and starter Wade LeBlanc, and a walk to Maybin.

    Hundley homered into the second deck in left field to cap the four-run third. Dempster retired the first two batters before walking LeBlanc, who scored on Maybin's RBI double. Venable walked ahead of Hundley's homer.

    LeBlanc (5-6) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out three and walked two.

    Dempster (10-14) allowed nine runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked four. The 14 losses extended his career-high, and he matched his career-high with his sixth straight loss, over eight starts.