Marlins pound Travis Wood in victory over Cubs
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 17, 2012 11:52PM
Cubs starter Travis Wood tries to pull himself together after serving up a grand slam to the Marlins’ Carlos Lee in the fifth inning Tuesday. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:34AM
Cubs starting pitchers had been stingy, to say the least, entering the game Tuesday against the Miami Marlins.
Cubs starters hadn’t allowed a run in 19 innings, and left-hander Travis Wood kept the streak going for the first three innings against the Marlins.
The streak ended, though, when Austin Kearns singled home Carlos Lee with two outs in the fourth. And it was a shattered memory by the time Omar Infante homered behind Kearns to give the Marlins a three-run lead.
The Marlins’ eventual 9-5 victory ended the Cubs’ four-game winning streak and Wood’s hope of a career-best five-game winning streak.
‘‘It started out looking good, and then things hit the fan,’’ said Wood (4-4), who was roughed up for eight runs and eight hits in 42/3 innings after allowing only three earned runs during his four-game winning streak. ‘‘Infante got the homer, and then Lee got me for a grand slam [in the fifth].’’
The Marlins blew the game open with a five-run fifth that featured Lee’s grand slam. It was the first grand slam by a Marlins player at Wrigley Field and Lee’s 39th career homer against the Cubs, by far his most against any team. His second-most is 19 against the Cincinnati Reds.
‘‘[Wood] was pretty sharp early, hitting both sides of the plate, then Carlos got a hit on a changeup,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘Then it seemed like he didn’t come out with much command. He didn’t use his offspeed stuff and pitched away a lot.’’
Before the game, Sveum had talked about the importance of Wood using both sides of the plate and using his ‘‘back-door cutter.’’
‘‘It’s opened a whole new world for him,’’ Sveum said.
The All-Star break contributed to Wood having 11 days off between starts, but he didn’t use that as an excuse for his performance.
‘‘I got my work in,’’ he said. ‘‘You learn something from each start. I just have to work hard the next four days and get back at it [this weekend] in St. Louis.’’
The setback for Wood came against a Marlins team that arrived to the fanfare of manager Ozzie Guillen’s return to Chicago. It was his first game in the city since his eight-year run as manager of the White Sox ended late last season.
The victory improved the Marlins’ record to 44-46, but their up-and-down season has been a disappointment for Guillen.
‘‘This season has been very aggravating,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘We still have a long way to go, and I think we have the ballclub to do it. I don’t think we’ll have another June [when the team went 8-18], but I hope we don’t have an April [8-14] or July [7-6] because we were pretty bad those months, too.’’
The Marlins owned the game until the eighth, when the Cubs rallied for three runs against reliever Chad Gaudin. Before that, right-hander Anibal Sanchez (5-6) kept the Cubs under control, allowing two runs (one earned) in seven innings.
Sanchez entered the game with only one victory in his last four decisions. Before Tuesday, though, he had received the worst run support of any major-league starter with at least 17 starts. His average of 2.61 runs received per nine innings was the lowest in the majors.