Cubs earn 3rd in a row on walk-off Barney blast
Cubs manager Dale Sveum wanted some "slugging percentage" Wednesday.
He got it, but not from a source he expected.
Second baseman Darwin Barney hit the first walk-off homer of his career, a 2-run line drive to the bleachers in left-center off Dale Thayer with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Cubs to an 8-6 victory over the San Diego Padres and a sweep of this three-game series.
"That was the first walk-off home run I've ever had at any level," said Barney, who has 3 homers this year. "I didn't even see it go out. I was just running, running hard. It's crazy. It's already gone and past and happened so fast."
Speaking of fast, the Cubs got something they totally expected from Tony Campana: speed. Campana has found himself out of the starting lineup recently as Sveum looks for some of that aforementioned slugging percentage.
But Campana did what he does best to help the Cubs tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning. After pinch hitter Reed Johnson singled with two outs, Sveum judiciously put Campana in to pinch run. With David DeJesus up, and quicker than you can say "blink of an eye," Campana stole second and third bases.
DeJesus walked, and when Starlin Castro dived into first base to beat out a groundball to third, Campana streaked across the plate with the tying run.
Oh, by the way, it was Campana's 26th birthday.
"Yeah, good birthday," he said. "It was exciting. It's an exciting one."
Campana has not started a game since May 21 at Houston. Sveum has been going with Joe Mather in an effort to get more punch into a lineup that has struggled to score runs all year.
So Campana has been the odd-man out.
"It's not like he's not going to play or anything," Sveum said. "It's one of those things where he didn't do anything to lose his job. He was kind of more of a victim of doing a good job, but still, the offense wasn't scoring runs. So we just thought we'd put somebody in there that might juice the team with a home run or a 3-run homer or a 2-run double or something like that.
"Unfortunately for Camp, like I told him, in a complete powerhouse offense, he could play every day in center field. We just need more slugging percentage. He's still a gigantic weapon off the bench, too."
Campana said he understands.
"I'm going to come in there and help the team as much as I can," he said. "That's kind of my job all the time. Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I'm going to try to spark some excitement in the game."
Campana, Barney and the bullpen picked up starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, who had a rare bad outing this year, lasting just 4 innings and giving up 6 hits and 6 runs. James Russell, who earned his first major-league save Tuesday, got the win to improve to 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA.
The sweep sends the Cubs out on a tough 10-game road trip to San Francisco, Milwaukee and Minnesota.
"When you come home and you win all of them, just for three days ... it's huge," said Sveum, whose team is in the midst of stretch that has the Cubs playing 16 of 19 away from home. "It's going to be one of the tougher road trips we're going to be on all year, when you've got to go all the way out west and all the way back out to the Midwest to Milwaukee and Minnesota."
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