There were so many "go-figure" moments at Wrigley Field on Thursday that it was easy to lose track over 13 innings.
One thing held to form, though: The Cubs lost again at home.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. San Diego Padres at Petco Park
TV: Comcast SportsNet Friday; WGN Saturday and Sunday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Edwin Jackson (7-13) vs. Edinson Volquez (9-10) Friday at 9:10 p.m.; Jeff Samardzija (7-11) vs. Eric Stults (8-10) Saturday at 7:40 p.m.; Chris Rusin (2-3) vs. Andrew Cashner (8-8) Sunday at 3:10 p.m.
At a glance: The Cubs and Padres split four games at Wrigley Field in late April and early May. The Padres are without Everth Cabrera, who is serving a 50-game PED-related suspension. Former Cub Cashner brings an ERA of 3.74 and a WHIP of 1.25 into his Sunday start. The Padres (57-70) are in the bottom half of the National League in most key offensive categories. They have a team ERA of 4.15 while the Cubs entered Thursday at 4.01. The Padres have a winning record at home (34-31).
Next: Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Monday-Wednesday
-- Bruce Miles
The Washington Nationals dropped them 5-4 on about a 40-foot RBI groundout by pinch hitter Chad Tracy in the top of the 13th.
Heading to the West Coast, the Cubs are 54-73 overall and 25-41 at Wrigley Field. That puts them on pace to finish 31-50 at home, and no Cubs team has lost 50 at Wrigley Field, with 49 being the record for futility.
"The bottom line is we've got to win games," said manager Dale Sveum. "We just come up short in games like this. It was nice coming back and all, but we had some opportunities. When you're at home, it's tough when you only have one walk-off win at home the whole season."
The most interesting subplot of the long afternoon -- the game started late because of a two-hour rain delay -- was a battle between one of the most highly touted phenoms in baseball and a journeyman who has had to scrap for everything.
Washington starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the phenom, dominated the Cubs into the ninth inning giving up only an eighth-inning solo homer to Brian Bogusevic. That brought the Cubs within 4-1, and Nationals manager Davey Johnson sent Strasburg out for the ninth to finish what looked to be a sure complete game.
Enter the journeyman.
Cubs third baseman Donnie Murphy, who has battled since 2004 just to stay in the big leagues, hit a game-tying two-out homer off Strasburg to cap a 3-run rally.
This was after Strasburg had struck him out three times earlier in the game.
"I played against the Nationals forever, for three years being with the Marlins," the 30-year-old Murphy said. "I've seen him pitch all the time, but I never got to face him. Going in there and him K-ing, me three times and getting the last say was pretty cool."
Murphy has played in 16 games for the Cubs, who brought him up from Class AAA Iowa on Aug. 3., and he has 8 home runs and 15 runs batted in with a slugging percentage of .810.
"I've never been on a run like this in the big leagues," he said. "I'm still having fun with it. But at the same time, I wish we were winning more ballgames. But we faced Strasburg today, and it wasn't like he gave us many good pitches to hit. I think he was just dotting the corners today, and luckily, we got to him in the ninth. It was definitely a tough loss."
Murphy has taken over as the starting third baseman with Luis Valbuena on the disabled list. Sveum continues to marvel at what Murphy has done in a short time.
"Yeah, the beat goes on with Murphy," Sveum said. "He's obviously our big bright spot offensively. No telling where we'd be without him the last two weeks."