CHICAGO -- As far as Bud Black's priorities go, consistency from the rotation remains at the top of the list. But there's another issue creeping closer.
The Padres put a temporary hold on their struggles with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night, going 8-for-20 in a 13-7 rout against the Cubs, but the issue remains. San Diego entered the day ranked 18th in baseball and ninth in the National League with a .232 batting average with runners in scoring position
"[Starting pitching] has to be much more consistent every night," Black said. "And with that, on those games that maybe the starter's not on his game, we need the big hit when we get guys there. … That's when a team's really flowing, when that happens. I do like the fact that we're getting guys on base. We're getting those opportunities."
Catcher Nick Hundley is hitting 2-for-19 (.105) with runners in scoring position, Jedd Gyorko is 6-for-30 (.200) and Chase Headley is 3-for-12 (.250).
"Turn it around, that's it," said first baseman Yonder Alonso, who had a costly strikeout in Monday night's game with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. "Just gotta learn from it. Gotta put it aside."
Cashner returns to Wrigley Field in a new role
CHICAGO -- Each time Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner comes to Wrigley Field, it seems he's in a different role.
The right-hander was drafted by the Cubs in the first round (19th overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft before he was traded to San Diego in a Jan. 6, 2012, deal for first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
He made his return to Wrigley on May 29, 2012, pitching an inning of relief in a 5-3 loss. He also pitched the following game, and combined to allow four hits and two earned runs in two full innings of that series. Now he's back and in the Padres' rotation. And though his role has changed, Wrigley Field has not.
"It's a cool place to play," Cashner said. "A lot of history here. 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 Park] are probably the two ballparks to be in, as old as they are and the history they have."
Perhaps Cashner can take the cramped visitors' clubhouse and the narrow tunnels and turn them into an advantage in preparation for his Wednesday start. He has done it before, just not in a San Diego uniform.
"My first start with the Padres [at Wrigley], but it's just another game," Cashner said. "You don't treat it any different. You don't get too up or too down. You try to just stay the same every start you make."
• James Darnell made his first rehab appearance on Monday with Triple-A Tucson, going 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts in the No. 3 spot in the order. He served as the team's designated hitter.
The utility man is working his way back from a strained left oblique injury that he aggravated during Spring Training.
• Black said right-hander Brad Brach would not be available for Tuesday night's game against the Cubs. Brach faced five hitters in a lengthy eighth inning on Monday, surrendering two hits but striking out two. He has pitched three consecutive days.