Travis Wood — 9 Ks, 4 RBIs — carries Cubs to 5-1 win
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Sports Reporter April 21, 2014 10:53PM
Updated: April 21, 2014 11:17PM
Almost a month into the season, and Travis Wood figured out how to finally solve the Cubs’ years-long scoring malaise:
He picked up his bat and did it himself.
As impressive as the All-Star pitcher was on the mound for seven innings Monday night, he was even more impressive in a four-RBI performance at the plate that included a three-run homer in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.
“He was a one-man wrecking crew,” manager Rick Renteria said.
Wood’s big night at the plate, combined with a nine-strikeout game on the mound, handed the Diamondbacks their ninth loss in 10 games – and put the Cubs in position to end their skid of 11 consecutive series losses with just one victory in the next three days.
Wood (1-2) capped a four-run Cubs’ second with his two-out homer off Bronson Arroyo, the seventh homer of Wood’s career.
He added a two-out, run-scoring double off ex-teammate Tony Campana’s glove near the center field wall in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.
And by the time he came to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth, D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson thought better of having him face Arroyo a third time and brought in reliever J.J. Putz.
Renteria said he couldn’t remember seeing a manager do that with the pitcher batting. Wood said he thinks it happened once last year.
Regardless, he took four cuts (including two foul balls) that looked like he was aiming for Waveland Avenue.
“I was,” he said. “I always do. It just didn’t happen.”
He grounded into a 1-2-3, inning-ending double play.
Still, his 2-for-3 day included more extra-base hits than the rest of the Cubs’ lineup combined – more hits than the top four spots in the order combined (1-for-14, four strikeouts).
But that was just half his day at the ballpark.
Wood took a four-hit shutout one out deep into the seventh before Mark Trumbo homered for Arizona’s only run of the game.
It was his third quality start in four turns this season, and 27th since the start of last season.
“He’s really coming into his own,” Renteria said of Wood’s value to the organization as a building-block pitcher. “He had a very good year last year, and he’s continuing that track this year.”
The Cubs entered Monday with the second-fewest runs in the National League, averaging just 3.4 per game – and had been shut out four times in their first 17 games.