CINCINNATI (AP) -- Kerry Wood isn't the pitcher he used to be. He
might be better.
"He was nasty. And I don't think he's fully back yet,"
Cincinnati's Pokey Reese said Tuesday night after Wood pitched a
four-hitter for his first complete game since elbow surgery almost
1½ years ago, leading the Chicago Cubs over the Reds 2-1.
Wood (7-7) struck out eight and walked two in the second
complete game of his career, the first since he struck out a
record-tying 20 against Houston on May 6, 1998.
"I thought he threw the ball harder then. But he was a better
pitcher tonight," Reds manager Jack McKeon said. "He kept us off
balance and got us to swing at pitches up in the zone and fly
Wood took a shutout in the ninth before giving up Alex Ochoa's
solo homer. The Reds are the only major league team that hasn't
been blanked this year.
"It's a great lift to go out and do that," Wood said. "I felt
like I had three pitches working -- my curveball, slider and
fastball. And I was throwing them for strikes."
Wood had a ligament in his right elbow replaced on April 8,
1999, and since returning this season, his longest outing had been
eight innings on July 7 in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Wood, the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year, won for the first time in
five starts since beating San Francisco on July 29. He was on the
disabled list from July 30 to Aug. 21 because of a muscle strain,
and was suspended Sept. 8-10 for his role in an Aug. 27 brawl
against Los Angeles.
"I felt terrible when I got here," Wood said. "I have a
little bit of bronchitis, or something."
He retired his first 11 batters before Sean Casey doubled to
center. The Reds' other hits were singles by Chris Stynes in the
fifth and Juan Castro in the eighth.
Wood only threw 115 pitches, which is more economical than
"Normally I'm around the 100-pitch mark around the fifth or
sixth inning," he said.
Wood said he felt he turned the corner last week, when he
pitched six innings but got no decision in the Cubs' 8-5 win at
"My last start, I threw more breaking balls for strikes," Wood
said. "Tonight, I was throwing two breaking balls for strikes, my
curve and slider."
Ochoa homered for the third straight game, dropping from a
32-ounce bat to a 31-ouncer in his final plate appearance,
"He was throwing his fastball hard, and he kept it up in the
strike zone and he was making us chase his breaking balls after
throwing them for strikes," Ochoa said. "The fastballs at the
letters were hard to lay off, and we were popping them up."
Chicago stopped a four-game losing streak, winning for only the
second time in 12 games. The win was Don Baylor's 500th as a major
league manager. The first 440 were with Colorado.
"It's a nice milestone, but I'm just glad it's over," Baylor
Baylor said he didn't have anybody warming up until the ninth
because he was rooting for Wood to go all the way.
"I really wanted him to finish the game. Everybody on the bench
was pulling for him to finish the game," Baylor said. "It was
important for him mentally as well as physically."
Osvaldo Fernandez (2-3) gave up both runs -- one unearned -- and
five hits in six innings.
Chicago went ahead in the first when Eric Young doubled on the
first pitch of the game, took third on Gary Matthews Jr.'s bunt
single and scored when Fernandez threw past first for an error.
Augie Ojeda scored on a Fernandez balk in the fifth, who singled
|Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood struck out eight and took a shutout into the ninth in his second complete game, his first being the record-tying 20 strikeout game against Houston on May 6, 1998.|
Cincinnati RHP Scott Williamson has two broken toes on his
right foot and will miss at least one start. Williamson (5-8) was
scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Cubs. ... An MRI showed
Ken Griffey Jr. has a partial tear of his left hamstring. He is
expected to be out 5-7 games. ... C Eddie Taubensee was on the
Reds' bench for the first time since back surgery Friday. He said
the surgery was more extensive than expected, but that his back
already feels better. ... Sammy Sosa, who had a nine-game hitting
streak with four home runs in his previous five games, was 0-for-4.
He has a major league-leading 49 homers and needs just one to join
only Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire as the only players with more than
two 50-homer seasons.
Chicago Cubs Clubhouse
Roundup: Griffey suffers partial hamstring tear, out 5-7 days
NY Yankees 10
Chi. White Sox 3
Tampa Bay 2
Kansas City 3
Chicago Cubs 2
St. Louis 11
NY Mets 10
San Francisco 9
Los Angeles 4
San Diego 3