Wood Slams the Sox – Cubs 8, White Sox 3

Game Fifty-Two – Cubs 8, White Sox 3

WP – Travis Wood (5-3) LP – Jake Peavy (6-3) Save – None

wflag-pubThe Cubs posted a season-high fourth win in a row on Thursday afternoon behind a grand performance by Travis Wood. Wood not only limited the White Sox to two runs on a day the wind was blowing out at Wrigley but he became the first Cubs’ pitcher in 41 years to hit a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs hit three longballs on Thursday, but none was bigger than Travis Wood’s grand slam off Jake Peavy in the fourth inning that turned a 2-1 Cubs advantage into a 6-1 lead. Wood became the first Cubs’ pitcher since Jason Marquis in 2008 at Shea Stadium to hit a slam and the first since Burt Hooton in 1972 off Tom Seaver to accomplish the feat at Wrigley. Wood is only the fifth pitcher in Cubs’ history to hit a grand slam. The Cubs’ pitching staff has driven in 19 runs this season, all in the month of May.

Travis Wood’s pitching performance will get lost in his 2-for-3 afternoon at the plate. Travis Wood posted his tenth quality start of the season after allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings. Wood kept the Sox off balance and was able to limit the damage early when the Sox appeared to be on the verge of a big inning. Wood turned the game over to the pen in the seventh after throwing only 88 pitches, 56 for strikes.

James Russell and Zach Putnam, in his Cubs’ debut, kept the Sox off the board in the seventh and Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect eighth. Kevin Gregg allowed his first run of the season after not getting the call on a couple of two-strike pitches in the ninth.

The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup led the way on Thursday. Six through nine in Dale Sveum’s order went 8-for-14 with a double, two home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored, a walk and a HBP. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI, two runs scored and a HBP) drove in the first run of the game with a two-out single in the second inning. Luis Valbuena (3-for-4 with a double, a home run and three runs scored) recorded a three-hit day that included his first home run in exactly one month (April 30). Valbuena started the two-run second inning with a two-out double and scored on Barney’s single. Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a run scored) was on board for Wood’s slam after reaching on a wind-blown infield single.

David DeJesus (1-for-5 with a RBI) singled in Barney with the Cubs’ second run and Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his sixth longball of the season in the fifth inning.

The Cubs scored eight runs on 11 hits, five for extra bases, with three walks and a HBP on Thursday afternoon.

With Thursday’s victory, the Cubs won the season series over the Sox regardless of the outcome of the makeup game from Tuesday’s rainout. The Cubs outscored the South Side 24-6 over the three games and for the first time the Crosstown Cup will reside on the North Side of Chicago for a year.

The Cubs improved to 22-30 on the year with Thursday’s win over the White Sox.

Travis Wood worked his way out of a first inning jam after issuing a leadoff walk to Alejandro De Aza to start the game. After Ramirez blooped out to Barney for the first out, Alex Rios hit a tapper back to Wood on a 3-2 pitch, but Welington Castillo was called for catcher’s interference for the second time this week (tenth inning on Sunday in Cincinnati) and the Sox had runners on first and second with one out. Wood retired Paul Konerko on a blooper to Barney and struck out Dayan Viciedo swinging to end the inning. Wood threw 22 pitches in the first, 14 for strikes.

The Cubs put up two runs in the second inning on four consecutive two-out hits. Luis Valbuena doubled to right center (3-2 pitch) for the Cubs’ first hit of the game. Darwin Barney followed with a long single to left. Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Travis Wood followed with a single to left. Barney held at second with two outs. David DeJesus then drove Peavy’s first pitch into center. Barney scored, 2-0 Cubs. Wood tripped rounding second and could not advance to third. Starlin Castro flied out to deep right center to end the inning.

The Sox got one of the runs right back in the third, but it could have been more. Wood walked De Aza for the second time to start the inning. Alexei Ramirez followed with a single to center. The ball hit off the second base bag and Barney could not haul it in. De Aza held at second with no outs. Travis Wood made arguably his biggest pitch of the game on a 1-1 offering to Rios. Rios pulled the grounder to third. Valbuena started the around the horn double play (5-4-3) as De Aza advanced to third. Paul Konerko singled to left center, De Aza scored and cut the Cubs’ lead to 2-1. Wood then struck out Viciedo swinging to end the inning. Wood needed 53 pitches, 34 for strikes, to complete three innings.

The game remained 2-1 Cubs until the bottom of the fourth.

Welington Castillo reached on a wind-blown infield single. Castillo popped up a 1-1 pitch from Peavy that landed in for a single. Luis Valbuena followed with a long single off the ivy in right. Castillo advanced to third with no outs. Peavy then hit Barney to load the bases.

Travis Wood stepped in and looked at two straight out of the strike zone … then pulled a 2-1 pitch from Jake Peavy into the bleachers in left center. Wood’s second longball of the season, a grand slam, put the Cubs up 6-1. DeJesus grounded out to short and Castro fouled out to Konerko. Anthony Rizzo drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center and ended up at third with his second triple of the season. Soriano flied out to De Aza at the wall in deep center to end the inning.

After four complete, the Cubs had a 6-1 lead and knocked Jake Peavy out of the game.

Travis Wood put together a 1-2-3 shutdown inning in the fifth.

Nate Schierholtz pulled his sixth homer of the season into the bleachers in right to start the fifth against Nate Jones. Castillo followed with a single to left and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Valbuena flied out to center for the first out. Castillo tried to advance on Jones’ second wild pitch of the inning but could not stop his slide at third and was called out. Barney grounded out to second to end the inning.

The White Sox chipped into the Cubs 7-1 lead in the sixth. Alex Rios led off with a double to left center and scored on a Paul Konerko double into the left field corner. Viciedo flied out to deep left for the first out. Wood retired Gillaspie on a liner to center and Keppinger on a grounder to short to end the inning.

The Cubs took the 7-2 lead into the eighth. Luis Valbuena led off the eighth with his sixth longball of the season. Valbuena pulled a 0-1 pitch from Brian Omogrosso into the right field bleachers.

Kevin Gregg replaced Marmol for the ninth with the Cubs up 8-2. Jeff Keppinger reached on a one-out single and advanced to second when Gregg walked Hector Gimenez with two outs. Alejandro De Aza singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. Keppinger scored to make it 8-3 but Alexei Ramirez grounded out to third (2-2 pitch) to end the game.

The Cubs open a three-game series against Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks on Friday afternoon. Matt Garza is scheduled to face lefty Wade Miley in the opener.

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  • paulcatanese

    Travis Wood should campaign for an outfield spot when not pitching, he is a pretty darn good hitter, and that’s without his GS today. What a blast. Travis (Boom ,Boom Wood).

    The Cubs have looked like division winners the last four days. Had it all together for these.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    Cubs win, plus yesterday’s WGN Sox broadcast was Hawkless. Score one for the good guys.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, and Stoney did a good job.

    • triple

      I meant to comment on that yesterday! I guess watching the Cubs beat up on the Sox makes the Hawk really sick.

  • Tom U

    I hate to report this, but these things seem to keep on occurring.

    Javier Baez hit a solo home run in the sixth inning of tonight’s game to bring Daytona within a run. However, instead of celebrating, Baez decided to continue to argue a strike call with the home plate umpire that happened earlier in the count. He must have chosen his words carefully, as he wasn’t tossed.

    • calicub

      Wow. Thats a diva move…

      You have to hope its youthful exuberance but this kid seems to have an ego the size of Epcot Center.

      • calicub

        Team theo needs to take a good long look at Baez and decide whether he and his attitude fits into their vision for the future.

        If not, its time to move him before his attitude or antics makes him a leper in the eyes of the league.

        • DWalker

          personally, I think the decision has already been partially made, or they are at least leading towards it. Keeping him at SS is for trade value. That they haven’t even hardly started him at third where he will likely end up ad where they said they planned to give him experience seems like the same move they have done with other players. Let them struggle it out and try and build up their trade value. I doubt he’s gone at the deadline, but I really could see a major move this winter with him.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, and too bad, he has talent. But the same talent that he has playing is destroyed with the non-playing attitude, and does not add to the clubhouse factor. Maybe someone will take it upon themselves to set him straight. Shortstop is a very tricky position for someone with a big mouth.

        • GaryLeeT

          Baez is a Hendry guy, so there is no Soler like allegiance from the FO to him there. As far as I’m concerned, by all means Jed, turn him (and others) into Price or Headley

          • John_CC

            Please try to get over this so called “anti-allegiance” against players that the current FO did not bring in. It is silly at best.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Agreed. It really suggests an unprofessional attitude. This might be the way some of us might think but I doubt guys with a couple rings on their fingers, recognized by their peers as some of the best at what they do feel the same.

          • JasonPen

            A Package of Baez, Vogelbach, and a couple of throw ins should get the Rays’ attention for Price…

    • paulcatanese

      Very lucky as that’s an auto for arguing balls and strikes. Must have been a rookie ump as well.

    • Tony_Hall

      Tom – Did you see this? Another report I have read sounds like after he rounded the bases he did this, like we see far too often, where a player will say something to the umpire as he is crossing home. Either way it is not good, but I don’t think this is a reason to get rid of a player as so many are ready to do. If teams did this, we would see a lot of players never make it that do. Jackson was ejected last night for arguing a checked swing, ejected not just arguing, then JC Boscan was also ejected later in the game. These things do happen. With Jackson it will be called passion, while Baez it is looked at as immature. Not sure why.

      A lot of these “kids” are still needing to learn how to act and behave and that is what the minors is suppose to do for the ones that didn’t learn it. Yesterday, I got off of 90 at 43 in Beloit and pulled into the corner of the Walmart parking lot to make some phone calls, only to have a big bus pull up almost right into me. It was the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers bus leaving after beating the Beloit Snappers 9-5 yesterday. It is amazing how young these guys are in the lower levels. Immature to say the least, as these are guys 19-24 range. Everyone got out and went to all the fast food locations to get lunch after their game for the bus ride back to Appleton. The bus started to leave and then two more guys came running around another building trying to catch the bus before it left them….there is a few in every crowd. They are just kids, trying to learn how to act and so many different environments that they have grown up in. Bryce Harper was still learning when he made the majors, but it seems he is starting to grow up as well. Let’s not write Baez off just yet.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Agreed. Let’s not trade him over this. It’s still way early. Don’t forget guys like Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds were huge immature divas and they all had some pretty phenomenal careers.

      • DWalker

        The differnce is, Jackson had a reason to argue it at the time as it may have been a deciding factor in his at bat, while Baez had already hit his home run. Both should know bettter though and passion or arrogance, they need to learn that rule #1 is the umps are blind, and rule #2 is the umps are always right on the strike zone.
        For the record, I haven’t given up on Baez, but I also don’t think he’s going to rush the system like we had all hoped. In fact, he makes me think of Jackson; periods of exceptionlism, with lots of potential but struggling with the execution; in Baez’s case, especially on defense. I expect Almora and Soler to both pass him to be honest. I know, he plays a more demanding defensive position where he is struggling. He also hasn’t been given time at third where the FO indicated he would spend time this year, and where most everyone puts him at ending up especially with castro locked up. When he is moved, that may also slow him up for a while. I do beleive though, that with the middle infield prospects at the the lower levels, the lack of the move from SS, his trade potential and his disipline issues; he seems like a likely trade waiting to happen. To land one of the really big young names in a trade, at least one of the big three will have to go and Baez most easily fits the bill. I don’t see Soler or Almora as likely trade canidates as Almora is already being called MLB ready at defense, seems to have a great baseball mind and has excellent offensive potential. Soler has some of the same mental problems as Baez, but is also at a less demanding defensive postion where mental gaffs can more easily be over looked. I am fine with keeping Baez and hoping he develops into the superstar we all hope for, but that is my reasoning behind not being surprised if he is traded.

        • Tony_Hall

          I think Soler and Almora will both make the majors before Baez, but not by much. Almora should move rather quickly as he is already polished. Soler just needs to get some games under his belt and will keep moving up. Baez needs the most polishing and fine tuning of his game, but has the best raw ability of the 3. It should be fun to watch them all develop.

          I also agree that Baez is the most likely to get traded of the 3.

    • DWalker

      Ok, question on the rules. If a player hits a homerun, but before completing the base trot he is ejected by the umpire, what happens? Is a pinch runner brought in to make the circuit? that would be my guess, but it did strike me as curious.

  • paulcatanese

    The only negative in the game was Castillo’s interference call, those are rare and the Cubs had two of them in less than a week.

  • GaryLeeT

    Too bad about the rain-out on Tuesday, because I really think the Cubs were on their way to winning that one too.