Marlins pound Travis Wood in victory over Cubs
BY TONI GINNETTI Sun-Times Media July 17, 2012 11:22PM
Marlins pitcher Carlos Zambrano and coach Andre Dawson exit the dugout during pregame before the Chicago Cubs take on the Miami Marlins Tuesday July 17, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:38AM
CHICAGO — The 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 consecutive 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 added five runs in the fifth, fueled by a grand slam
by Lee. It was his 39th career
home run against the Cubs, by far his most against any team. (His second-most is 19 against the Cincinnati Reds.)
The Marlins went on to earn a 9-5 victory on a rough night for Wood (4-4), who was trying for his career-best fifth consecutive victory. He had allowed only three earned runs in his four prior victories in the best stretch of his young career.
‘‘He’s using both sides of the plate now,’’ manager Dale Sveum said of Wood before the game. ‘‘He’s using his two-seam [fastball] and a cutter. He never thought he could throw a backdoor cutter. It’s opened a whole new world for him.’’
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 the manager of the White Sox ended last season.
The Marlins entered play Tuesday with a 43-46 record, and 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 (6-6 entering Tuesday) because we were pretty bad those months, too.’’
The Marlins owned the game through the seventh, leading 9-2 and holding the Cubs in check
behind the pitching of right-hander Anibal Sanchez (5-6), whose performance had mirrored that of his team for most of the first half.
Sanchez entered the game with only one victory in his last four
decisions. But before Tuesday, he had received the fewest runs of support (31) among major-league starters with at least 17 starts. His average of 2.61 runs of support per nine innings was the lowest in the majors this season.
The Cubs touched Sanchez for a run in the fifth, when Jeff Baker homered in his first at-bat after
entering at second base in a double switch. It was his fourth homer of the season but his first against a right-hander.
They added an unearned run in the sixth, when Geovany Soto extended his hitting streak to six games with a double and scored when third baseman Hanley Ramirez committed an error on pinch hitter Joe Mather’s grounder.
Wood was charged with eight runs and eight hits in 42/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
Sanchez worked seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and nine hits.
The Cubs added three runs against reliever Chad Gaudin in the eighth and threatened to add more before Anthony Rizzo grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners at first and second.