SAN DIEGO (AP) — Joc Pederson of the Chicago Cubs hit a towering, game-tying home run off San Diego ace Yu Darvish and, as he approached third base on his trot, mimicked the stutter step Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. does after he homers.

If Tatis can have fun, so can he, Pederson figured.

“I see Tatis, he has a lot of homers, he’s done it, he’s having fun out there,” Pederson said after the Cubs beat former teammate Darvish and the Padres 3-1 on Wednesday. “He’s got some of the most swag in the game. Our team’s just having fun.”

Pederson also did the stutter step after homering in San Francisco during the weekend.

“If I keep hitting homers I’m going to keep doing it,” he said.

Sergio Alcantara also homered and Jake Arrieta threw five strong innings for the Cubs, who took two of three. The Cubs beat the Padres five times in six games in a 10-day stretch, including a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field last week.

The Cubs bounced back nicely from losing the first three of a four-game series at San Francisco, which leads the NL West.

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“We’ve got a great team. The Giants obviously are in first place; I think the Padres are a playoff team,” Pederson said. “It’s not like they were some cupcake matchups.”

Darvish (6-2) retired the first nine Cubs batters before Pederson hit a towering home run to right-center field leading off the fourth to tie it at 1. It was Pederson’s seventh.

Darvish pitched well but took the hard-luck loss when the Cubs scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on Anthony Rizzo’s double-play ball. Darvish opened the inning by walking Ian Happ and allowing a single to right by Patrick Wisdom before Rizzo hit into a 4-6-3 double play to bring in Happ.

Darvish was traded from the Cubs to the Padres on Dec. 29, along with Victor Caratini, his personal catcher. Darvish finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting in 2020 while with the Cubs.

Darvish said it wasn’t a big deal facing his old team.

“I wasn’t too conscious, just because there were some players that weren’t there when I was there,” he said through a translator. “But going into the game, I just kind of said to myself to not worry about that too much.”

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Darvish allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked two.

Alcantara homered off Emilio Pagán with one out in the eighth, his first.

Arrieta allowed one run and four hits in five innings, struck out six and walked one. He finished strong, striking out the side in the fifth after allowing a leadoff single to former Cubs catcher Victor Caratini.

Arrieta allowed Manny Machado’s RBI single in the third.

“I knew there was going to be limited offense,” Arrieta said. “I wanted to go out there and pitch well and help our team win a series. Runs were going to be at a premium today, obviously. Darvish is really good. He’s tough to beat every time he’s out there. I had to limit the damage.

“The one run they scored was a situation where I was trying to go in to Machado and just didn’t get it in far enough and he put a nice swing on it. Limiting baserunners, I think I had one walk today. You have to limit the free bases and make good pitches and try to keep guys off the base paths.”

Rex Brothers (2-0) pitched a perfect sixth for the win. Craig Kimbrel, who was San Diego’s closer in 2015, pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 17 chances.

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UP NEXT

Cubs: Haven’t named a starter for Friday night’s opener of a three-game home series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Padres: LHP Blake Snell (2-2, 4.83 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at the New York Mets. He’s coming off his best start with the Padres, a 2-0 win against the Mets last Friday night in which he struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in seven innings. He’s expected to oppose RHP Jacob deGrom (5-2, 0.62 ERA), who dominated the Padres in a 4-0 win on Saturday night, striking out 11 and allowing just three hits in seven innings.

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