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CHC@MIA: Wood solid, strikes out five over six frames

Before starting a four-game series with the Padres on Monday, the Cubs hadn't scored five runs in a game since April 18.

They've scored at least five in all three games this series, including a 6-2 win on Wednesday night, the Cubs' fifth win in seven games.

On Thursday, the Cubs' suddenly-hot offense gets another shot at the Padres' pitching staff, which entered Wednesday 28th in the Majors with a 4.53 ERA.

"Everybody's making adjustments if they're struggling," manager Dale Sveum said. "Nine times out of 10, it comes down to confidence and getting a good pitch to hit and taking your walks and mentally being in a better place.

"A lot of times we talk about mechanics, and guys usually don't come out of slumps because of mechanical stuff," Sveum said. "It's because, one, they're everyday players, and two, they're really good and at the end of the year. The media guide doesn't lie. We all know each and every one of these guys will go into funks, and because they're everyday players, they'll come out of it."

If the Cubs could pair a potent lineup with the pitching success they've gotten out of Thursday starter Travis Wood, wins might start occurring more frequently.

Wood hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start this season. He's gone at least six innings each time out, with a 2.25 ERA through five starts.

After allowing a home run on 12.7 percent of his fly balls last season, Wood has allowed homers on just 8.1 percent in 2013. He's served up three homers in 32 innings.

Eric Stults will look to turn his season around as he takes the mound for the Padres. Stults has allowed five runs in each of his last two starts.

After posting a 2.92 ERA while splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation with the Padres last season, Stults is 2-2 with a 5.67 ERA as a starter this year.

The Padres have also won five of their last seven.

Cubs: Stewart not quite ready
Third baseman Ian Stewart is still making his way back from a strained left quad that kept him out of Spring Training. While he's been rehabbing with Triple-A Iowa, where Stewart has gone 4-for-40, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he could be recertified to stay in the Minors.

"He doesn't have his timing," Epstein said. "He's not been performing that well and his timing isn't there yet. He needs to keep playing."

In Stewart's absence, Luis Valbuena has suddenly found a power stroke, launching five homers in 22 games this season. Valbuena, who had 17 homers in 319 Major League games prior to this year, hit third in Wednesday's lineup.

Padres: Headley looking good
Third baseman Chase Headley hit his third home run and stole his second base of the season on Wednesday night.

Headley missed the team's first 14 games with a fractured tip of his left thumb, but he has picked up right where he left off last season, entering Wednesday with a .842 OPS.

Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said the club is hoping to sign Headley to a multiyear contract extension to lock up Headley, whose contract expires after the 2014 season.

"We want him here," Fowler said. "It's a priority to keep him here."

Worth noting
• Kyle Blanks is expected to be in San Diego's lineup Thursday with a lefty on the mound. That will likely be the case in the next three games for the Padres, as they face three straight left-handers.

• Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo stole his fourth base of the season Wednesday night and has been caught just once. Rizzo stole three bases in 87 games last year. He's stolen as many as 10 bases in a season while in the Minors.

• Julio Borbon picked up a rare start in left field Wednesday and got on base twice, scoring both times.

• Padres rookie Jedd Gyorko hit his first Major League home run Wednesday. Comments