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  Tuesday, Sep. 12 7:05pm ET
Wood 4-hitter gives Baylor win No. 500

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Kerry Wood isn't the pitcher he used to be. He might be better.

Kerry Wood
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.

"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 1 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 out."

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 usual.

"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 Colorado.

"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 said.

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 leading off.

Game notes
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.

Baseball Scoreboard

Chicago Cubs Clubhouse

Cincinnati Clubhouse

Roundup: Griffey suffers partial hamstring tear, out 5-7 days

Texas 9
Baltimore 1

Texas 6
Baltimore 5

(2nd game)

Boston 8
Cleveland 6

NY Yankees 10
Toronto 2

Detroit 10
Chi. White Sox 3

Anaheim 5
Tampa Bay 2

Oakland 5
Minnesota 3

Seattle 11
Kansas City 3

Chicago Cubs 2
Cincinnati 1

Montreal 1
Philadelphia 0

St. Louis 11
Pittsburgh 1

NY Mets 10
Milwaukee 2

Florida 5
Atlanta 4

San Francisco 9
Houston 5

Arizona 5
Los Angeles 4

Colorado 6
San Diego 3