Rapid Reaction: Cubs 6, Padres 2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs surged ahead early in a 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres in the third of a four-game set at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

How it happened: Former Cub and No. 1 draft pick Andrew Cashner started for the first time against Chicago. Cashner was traded to San Diego for first baseman Anthony Rizzo in 2011. Manager Dale Sveum started seven left-handed hitters in his lineup. Starlin Castro started the scoring with an RBI single that plated Julio Borbon in the first inning. Cubs starting pitcher Scott Feldman doubled in the second run, scoring Darwin Barney in the second inning. Cashner's pitch count (76 through three innings) skyrocketed in the third, thanks in large part to a two-run double by catcher Dioner Navarro. Cashner’s 89th pitch was an RBI groundout off the bat of Luis Valbuena. Nate Schierholtz doubled home the sixth run in the seventh inning. San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko hits his first major league home run to break up Feldman's shutout in the eighth. Chase Headley homered with one out in the ninth.

What it means: The Cubs have won six of their past nine games. With a win on Thursday, they can wrap up their second straight series victory. Feldman pitched his first career complete game as he records his second consecutive win while striking out 12. That matches his career high. After a rough beginning to the season, the veteran pitcher has been outstanding as of late.

Outside the box: Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said infielder Ian Stewart is not ready to return to the major leagues; he's rehabbing a leg injury in the minors. Teams can send a player out for only 20 days on a rehab assignment. “You can always get recertified if you are not healthy yet," Epstein said. "He has had some bumps and bruises along the way. We will just monitor it daily and see how he is doing.” … Another rehab began for the Cubs as RHP Matt Garza threw 42 pitches in 2⅔ innings at Double-A on Wednesday. Garza is rehabbing from a strained side muscle he injured on Feb. 17. Sveum said Garza will return to the team in between minor league starts. He also stated his pitcher would be re-evaluated after the third outing.

Up next: Chicago LHP Travis Wood (2-1, 2.25 ERA) faces Padres LHP Eric Stults (2-2, 5.67 ERA) in Thursday's series finale.