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CHC@SD: Blanks' double plates a pair for the Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Anthony Bass was long gone by the time the Cubs put the finishing touches on a 6-2 victory over the Padres in front of a crowd of 39,058 at PETCO Park on Tuesday, though the rookie right-hander certainly left an indelible mark.

Bass, making his third Major League start, allowed one run on five hits over five innings, striking out two and walking two, while leaving a favorable impression on manager Bud Black to ponder over the offseason.

"You're seeing a guy who is more poised and more composed," Black said.

Bass didn't factor in the decision, a victory by the Cubs (71-90) that was made possible when Alfonso Soriano drilled a three-run home run off Padres reliever Chad Qualls (6-8) in the eighth inning.

"The guys did a [heck] of a job putting together a great eighth inning," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

But Bass certainly helped the Padres (70-91) get in a position to win on the penultimate day of the regular season.

Bass allowed a home run to Aramis Ramirez leading off the fourth inning, but little else, leaving after 63 pitches. He was scheduled to throw 70 or so pitches in this start -- a week after he threw 52 in a victory in Denver.

The success that Bass had came against a Cubs lineup that included several regulars -- unlike the greenish lineup that Quade used in Monday's 2-0 loss.

"They have some marquee players over there," Black said of the Cubs. "It was good for Anthony to face those guys.

"He was a little stressed in the fifth, but he made some pitches to the middle part of their order."

Bass allowed two baserunners in that fifth inning, putting runners on the corner with two outs. That brought Ramirez to the plate one inning after he hit his 26th home run.

Bass got Ramirez to foul off a fastball and then swing through a slider, before he decided to go back to the slider -- though with the intention of keeping it far out of Ramirez's reach.

"I executed that slider down and away," Bass said. "When you do that ... you're going to get good hitters out."

Bass said that he was excited to see that the Cubs had most of their regulars in the lineup on Tuesday -- like Starlin Castro, Ramirez, Carlos Pena and Soriano.

"I want to face the best, because it's only going to make me better," Bass said. "Next year, hopefully, I'm here, [and] I'll be facing everyone's Opening Day lineup."

Bass, who started the season with Double-A San Antonio, finished his rookie season with a 1.68 ERA in 48 1/3 innings. He'll now head to Arizona, where he'll pitch in the Arizona Fall League next month.

"We've seen a lot of strides, and he's taken to some good instruction from our coaches," Black said. "He's a guy who looks like he thinks he belongs."

Kyle Blanks gave the Padres an early lead, when he hit a two-run double in the second inning off Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza (10-10).

Garza allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

"I sure was glad to get Garza back to .500," Quade said.

As for the Padres, their loss to the Cubs meant they would finish alone in last place in the National League West division, regardless of what happens in Wednesday's regular-season finale.

"Expectations are high every year," Black said. "We had a good year last year [90 victories], and this year we didn't. Coming into Spring Training, we thought we could compete with the other clubs."

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