Travis Wood’s slam keeps Cubs pitchers hot at plate
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2013 8:33PM
Chicago White Sox v Chicago Cubs
Updated: June 1, 2013 12:41AM
Travis Wood was thinking like a pitcher when he faced White Sox starter Jake Peavy in the fourth inning Thursday with the bases loaded. But he was swinging like a hitter.
“The count was 2-1, so I knew he’d want to get back in the count,’’ Wood said.
Wood’s drive into the left-field bleachers was all the offense the Cubs needed in their 8-3 victory, which gave them their first crosstown series win since 2007 and their first four-game winning streak of the season.
Wood became the first Cubs pitcher to hit a grand slam since Jason Marquis in 2008 at Shea Stadium and the first to do it at Wrigley Field since Burt Hooton in 1972.
The slam gave the Cubs’ pitching staff 19 RBI in May, a National League record. The last team to have more in a month were the pitchers on the 1940 Detroit Tigers, who had 20.
“It’s pretty impressive,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. “Woody can flat-out hit. But they’ve all had big hits. They’ve been a big part of winning these games.’’
Wood, who has two homers and seven RBI this season, was just as effective on the mound. In six innings, he allowed two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and two walks on a day the wind was blowing out.
“I honestly didn’t do that well in the first few innings,’’ Wood said. “I was kind of all over the place but fortunate to keep them off balance.’’
Wood improved to 5-3 with 10 quality starts in 11 outings, but his .292 batting average was the topic of choice.
“I was a little excited,’’ he joked of his homer. “And it put us up — and especially when it’s your game.
“The whole staff has been hitting. We take pride in our hitting and helping ourselves.’’
“They’re taking all the RBI,’’ Anthony Rizzo joked.
At the Madhouse
Sveum attended the Blackhawks’ Game 7 victory Wednesday and got a glimpse of what it might be like if the Cubs win something big.
“You can’t help but understand that passion of the fans in the city,” said Sveum, who was at the United Center with several other Cubs. “You see the electricity that went on in that stadium, and you can’t help but think of the what-ifs when it all comes together, what it’ll be like in this place and around Wrigleyville.”
The Cubs added right-hander Zach Putnam from Class AAA Iowa and sent down Alex Burnett. Putnam got the final out in the seventh. Kyuji Fujikawa (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
◆ Reliever Michael Bowden accepted his outright assignment to Class AAA Iowa.