Cubs Get Enough Wood to Hang On and Beat the Padres – Cubs 3, Padres 2

Game Forty-Seven: Cubs 3, Padres 2

WP – Travis Wood (5-4) LP – Billy Buckner (0-1) Save – Hector Rondon (6)

wflag-pub2014Travis Wood cruised through the first seven innings and drove in the Cubs third run with a single in the sixth inning. Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon retired the last five batters of the game on 13 pitches in relief of Wood. Luis Valbuena hit his third longball of the season and scored two runs as the Cubs hung on and beat the Padres on Saturday night.

Travis Wood picked up the first win of his career against the Padres (1-2) with one of his best efforts of the season. Wood faced the minimum the first time through the lineup and allowed only one hit through the first six innings, and that was to the first batter he faced in the game. The Padres made weak contact in the first six innings and he retired the leadoff hitter in six of the eight innings he started.

Travis Wood found a rhythm early, hit his spots and kept the Padres off balance through the first seven innings. Wood issued his second walk of the night with one out in the eighth and was left in to face Carlos Quentin. The former Southsider did what he always does against Cubs pitching and his pinch-hit two-run homer was Wood’s only mistake of the night.

Travis Wood allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Wood threw 98 pitches, 67 for strikes, in 7 1/3 innings.

Neil Ramirez struck out the only two batters he faced to close out the eighth inning. Ramirez threw nine pitches, six for strikes. Hector Rondon picked up his sixth save on four pitches … and an excellent leaping catch by Anthony Rizzo.

The bottom of the Cubs lineup led the way on Saturday night.

Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and two runs scored) scored the first run of the game in the fourth on a single by Nate Schierholtz (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored). Valbuena hit his third homer of the season in the sixth that put the Cubs up 2-0. After Nate Schierholtz doubled with two outs in the sixth, the Padres intentionally walked Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a walk) and Travis Wood (1-for-2 with a RBI and a SAC) made them pay. Wood drove in Schierholtz with a single to left.

The bottom of the Cubs lineup, hitters five-nine (Valbuena, Castillo, Schierholtz, Barney, Wood) went a combined 6-for-15 with a home run, a double, three RBI, three walks and three runs scored.

The Padres defense took away several hits on Saturday night. Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera and Jedd Gyorko made excellent plays that robbed Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo of basehits.

With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 18-29 on the season.

The Cubs could not cash in early opportunities against Billy Buckner and Travis Wood faced the minimum the first time through the lineup. Wood needed only 28 pitches, 21 for strikes, to get through three innings. And the game went to the fourth inning scoreless.

After Starlin Castro lined out to right to start the fourth, Luis Valbuena worked his second walk in as many at bats. Welington Castillo drove a 1-0 pitch into right. Valbuena held at second with one out. Nate Schierholtz took a 2-0 pitch and drove it into left. Valbuena scored, 1-0 Cubs. Darwin Barney flied out to right center, Castillo advanced to third on the play. With runners on the corners and two down, Travis Wood struck out swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood worked around a throwing error by Luis Valbuena to start the fourth. Everth Cabrera hit a grounder toward the third baseline that Valbuena fielded cleanly, but he did not set his feet and airmailed his throw to first. Cabrera ended up at second on the error. Wood retired Maybin on a pop out to Rizzo. Denorfia grounded out to short, Cabrera went to third with two down. Chase Headley pulled a 1-2 pitch down the third baseline. Valbuena made an excellent diving stop and threw out Headley at first to end the inning. Valbuena made up for his error and Wood kept the Padres off the board … 49 pitches for Wood after four, 33 for strikes.

At the end of four complete, the Cubs led 1-0.

Starlin Castro led off the sixth with the Cubs still leading 1-0 and was robbed of another hit by Everth Cabrera. Luis Valbuena stepped in and pulled Buckner’s first pitch down the right field line. The ball landed just over the wall and Valbuena’s third home run of the season gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Castillo grounded out to short for the second out. Nate Schierholtz doubled to right. The ball one-hopped the wall and Schierholtz ended up at second with a two-out, two-basehit. The Padres intentionally walked Darwin Barney. And Wood made them pay. Travis Wood pulled a 1-0 pitch into left. Schierholtz scored and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead. Bud Black decided that was enough for Billy Buckner and went to his pen for Nick Vincent. Ryan Kalish struck out swinging to end the inning.

Travis Wood retired the Padres in order in the sixth and after six complete, the Cubs led 3-0.

And the game remained 3-0 Cubs until the bottom of the eighth. Travis Wood retired Alonso on a grounder to second for the first out in the eighth. Wood could not put away Yasmani Grandal and he walked him, just the second free pass of the night for Wood. Carlos Quentin was summoned off the bench to hit for Alex Torres.

Rick Renteria left Wood in to face Quentin and the decision cost the Cubs. Carlos Quentin launched a 0-1 pitch off the face of the second deck and just like that the Cubs lead was down to 3-2. Renteria finally went to his pen and called on Neil Ramirez to face the top of the Padres lineup. Ramirez struck out Cabrera swinging for the second out (2-2 pitch) on a nasty slider in the dirt and caught Maybin looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the inning.

At the end of eight, the Cubs had a 3-2 lead.

The Cubs did nothing against Dale Thayer in the ninth and Hector Rondon took the hill for the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs clinging to a one run lead.

Anthony Rizzo made a sensational leaping catch to take a hit away from Chase Headley for the second out in the ninth. Hector Rondon recorded three outs on four pitches in the ninth to nail down the win for the Cubs.

The Cubs wrap-up the four-game series in San Diego on Sunday afternoon (3:10pm CDT) … Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Ian Kennedy in the finale.

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Quote of the Day

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