Game Seventy-Eight – Cubs 3, Astros 0
WP – Travis Wood (3-3) LP – Wandy Rodriguez (6-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (8)
The Cubs completed the three-game sweep over the Houston Astros and finished the homestand with a 5-1 record behind another impressive outing by Travis Wood … and Anthony Rizzo’s third game-winning RBI in five games.
Two years to the day that Travis Wood made his big league debut against the Cubs at Wrigley Field (July 1, 2010), Wood picked up his third straight win with 7 2/3 innings of three-hit, shutout ball. Wood did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning and only one batter reached third base on the afternoon. Wood did an excellent job of pounding the strike zone (104 pitches, 71 for strikes), struck out four and did not walk a batter.
Travis Wood has completed at least seven innings of work in his last two starts and has completed at least six innings in each of his last four outings. Wood has not allowed a run in his last 19 innings.
Shawn Camp closed out the eighth and Carlos Marmol picked up his third save of the series with two strikeouts in the ninth. The Cubs’ staff shutout the Astros twice in the games after allowing 17 runs in the finale against the Mets.
Travis Wood not only did his job on the mound but he also notched the Cubs’ first extra basehit and scored the Cubs’ first run in the sixth. Wood doubled to left to start the sixth, advanced to third on a groundout to third then after an intentional walk to Starlin Castro (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored), scored on a single to right off the bat of Anthony Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) delivered his third game winning hit in five games. Rizzo pulled Wandy Rodriguez’s first pitch into right and plated Travis Wood. Rizzo scored the Cubs’ third and final run on a double by Jeff Baker (1-for-3, a double and two RBI).
The Cubs’ offense managed five hits and a walk off Wandy Rodriguez and finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with RISP and left three runners on base. Darwin Barney (1-for-3) collected one of the Cubs five hits and made several excellent defensive plays on Sunday afternoon.
The Cubs completed their second three-game sweep of the season (Padres, May 28 – May 30) and equaled their season-high three-game winning streak with Sunday’s victory.
The Cubs improved to 29-49 on the season (6-7 on Sundays in 2012) with Sunday’s win over Houston … After a bad storm in the Chicago area delayed the start of the game for 56 minutes, Travis Wood struck out Jose Altuve to begin the game then set down the Astros in order on 11 pitches, eight strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the bottom of the first. Wandy Rodriguez threw just nine pitches, eight strikes, in the opening frame.
Travis Wood retired Houston in order in the second … after two, Wood’s pitch count stood at 24, 16 for strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the second. Geovany Soto worked the Cubs’ first three-ball count and helped run up Rodriguez’s pitch count (21, 17 strikes).
Travis Wood struck out two (Bixler and Castro looking) of the three batters he faced in the third. Wood struck out three of the first nine batters he faced (35 pitches for Wood after three, 26 strikes).
After Darwin Barney hit a tapper back to the mound (2-2 pitch) to start the third, Luis Valbuena pulled a 0-1 pitch into right for a single … the first hit of the game. Travis Wood swung away and hit a deep drive to right that Bixler hauled in for the second out. Reed Johnson rolled over a 0-2 pitch to short to end the inning … just 36 pitches for Rodriguez after three, 30 for strikes.
Travis Wood set down the Astros in order in the fourth … 12 up, 12 down for Wood after four on 43 pitches, 31 strikes.
The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Wandy Rodriguez threw only 49 pitches in the first four innings, 39 for strikes.
J.D. Martinez led off the fifth with the Astros’ first hit of the day. Martinez pulled a 2-2 pitch past Luis Valbuena into left field. Wood re-focused and retired Matt Downs on a pop out to short. Brian Bogusevic grounded out to second (2-2 pitch) and Martinez advanced to third on the play. Brian Bixler popped Wood’s 60th pitch of the game (41 strikes) to Barney to end the inning.
Geovany Soto (ground out to short) and Joe Mather (ground out to short) made two outs on three pitches to start the fifth. Darwin Barney ripped a 0-1 pitch into left … but was stranded when Luis Valbuena flied out to the track in right center (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Brian Bixler had trouble with the sun and Brian Bogusevic ran over and caught the ball as the two outfielders gently collided … 62 pitches for Rodriguez after five, 49 for strikes.
Jason Castro struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) to begin the sixth. Darwin Barney made an excellent running catch near the Astros’ pen to retire Rodriguez. Jose Altuve ripped a 1-1 pitch into right, just the second hit of the day for the Astros. Jed Lowrie flied out to right (1-2 pitch) to end the inning. Wood threw 78 pitches, 53 for strikes, over six innings.
Travis Wood led off the sixth with his third double of the season. Wood pulled Rodriguez’s first pitch down the left field line. Wood was the first Cub to reach second base on Sunday afternoon. Reed Johnson hit a routine grounder toward third (1-2 pitch). Matt Downs fielded the ball cleanly, looked at Wood and then threw to first for the out. Wood did an excellent job of running the bases. He held his ground when Downs looked at him then took off for third as soon as Downs released the ball. Wood slid in safe at third … Carlos Lee did not throw back across the diamond.
With the infield in and one down, Starlin Castro showed a lot of patience and did not offer at Rodriguez’s first three pitches. Rodriguez issued ball four intentionally and put runners on first and third with one out for Anthony Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo ripped the first pitch he saw into right. Wood scored, Castro ended up at third and the Cubs took a 1-0 lead. Jeff Baker then pulled a 0-1 pitch into left. The ball rolled into the corner and J.D. Martinez had trouble getting a handle on it. Castro scored easily … and Rizzo lumbered all the way around from first on Baker’s double. Geovany Soto grounded out weakly to short and Mather grounded out to second to end the inning.
After six, the Cubs led 3-0.
Travis Wood made quick work of Houston in the seventh. Wood set down the side in order on just 12 pitches (90 pitches after seven for Wood, 61 for strikes).
The Cubs did nothing in the seventh against Wandy Rodriguez … and the game went into the eighth with the Cubs up 3-0.
Reed Johnson moved to right and David DeJesus took over in center to start the eighth. Wood retired Bogusevic on a grounder to third (1-2 pitch). Brian Bixler then reached on an infield single. Bixler hit a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that Barney fielded and made a strong throw to first. Anthony Rizzo did not stretch and Bixler was called safe … replays showed that Rizzo caught the ball just ahead of Bixler touching the base. Bixler reached on the Astros’ third hit of the game. Wood stayed in to face lefty Jason Castro. Castro flied out to center for the second out.
After Chris Snyder was announced as the pinch-hitter for Wandy Rodriguez, Dale Sveum made his way to the mound and went to the pen for Shawn Camp. Wood left the field to a nice ovation and tipped his cap in appreciation. Camp retired Snyder on a grounder to short.
The Cubs did nothing in the eighth against David Carpenter and Wesley Wright.
Carlos Marmol made his way in from the pen and Tony Campana took over for DeJesus in center.
Carlos Marmol caught Jose Altuve looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out in the ninth. Jed Lowrie grounded out to first (2-2 pitch) but Carlos Lee ripped a 0-1 pitch into the gap in left center for a double. Marmol threw strike one to J.D. Martinez then dropped a 2-2 slider in that Martinez looked at to end the game.
Five out of six to complete the home schedule before the break … Dale Sveum’s team finished the first half with a 19-20 record at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs open a four-game series Monday night in Atlanta. Jeff Samardzija will face Tommy Hanson in game one.
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