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Wood leads Cubs to first road series win

Lefty tosses eight scoreless after taking no-hit bid into sixth inning

PHILADELPHIA -- The Cubs have done well to protect Wrigley Field this season, winning a majority of the games played at baseball's second-oldest park. But they've had difficulty on the road.

It took 13 attempts this season, but Chicago finally won a road series on Sunday. Travis Wood dazzled and Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro continued to make their cases for All-Star votes, as the Cubs beat the Phillies, 3-0, at Citizen's Bank Park, taking two of three games.

The Cubs hadn't won a road series since taking two of three in Cincinnati on Sept. 9-11 of last season. This weekend marked their first series win in Philly since April 6-8, 2001, at Veterans Stadium.

"It's a testament to them. They've been playing well," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "I think every series that we've played, there's been a game or two that's gotten away, but for the most part, for the last five or six weeks, we've been playing pretty good baseball."

Wood didn't surrender a run over his eight innings of work -- his first scoreless outing of the season -- and took a no-hit bid through 5 1/3 innings. He scattered three hits and three walks while striking out six.

With his cutter jamming batters inside and his changeup fooling hitters over the plate, the 2013 All-Star induced 12 fly-ball outs against Philly.

"Felt good today," Wood said. "Kind of settled in, was able to get some quick outs and go deep."

For the defense behind him, Sunday afternoon was a pleasure. All the popouts gave way to a fast-paced game that lasted just 2 hours and 35 minutes.

"It's what we expect out of him every time," Rizzo said. "He's going to go out, throw strikes, usually work at a pretty fast tempo, and it's nice to play behind him."

Rizzo was in the middle of the action for the whole game. The first baseman sent the first pitch he saw from Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett -- a 93-mph sinker -- over the fence in right to put Chicago on the board with a solo homer in the first inning.

Later in the game, with Cesar Hernandez on first in the eighth inning, Ben Revere chopped a ball down the first-base line that Rizzo was able to snag at the apex of his leap.

"He got up there," Wood said. "Probably save a run right there. I'm sure [Hernandez] would have came around and scored."

Rizzo hesitated when asked about which he was more pleased with, the homer or the leap to save a run.

"The saved run," Rizzo said.

Then his stoic expression broke.

"I probably am [lying]," Rizzo said, smiling. "Homer for sure. Whenever you hit a home run, it's the hardest thing to do in this game."

By that measure, Rizzo is playing at an All-Star level. In his last 52 at-bats, Rizzo has done the hardest thing to do in the game six times. His 14 home runs are the second-most in the National League for a first baseman.

"There was probably a question earlier about his power numbers," Renteria said. "Power doesn't disappear. As he becomes and continues to become a better hitter, his strength will just play itself into the game."

Castro, meanwhile, posted another three-hit game. It was his 10th of the season, which ties him with Jose Altuve and Troy Tulowitzki for the most in the Majors.

The shortstop gave Chicago a 2-0 advantage by driving in Justin Ruggiano in the third, and he was also at the heart of the Cubs' third run of the afternoon. Castro scorched a ball down the left-field line to lead off the sixth inning with a double. Two batters later, Nate Schierholtz doubled him home.

"Starlin's been swinging the bat really well," Renteria said. "I think his approaches have been really good."

Neil Ramirez was called upon again to get the save. After a dicey outing against the Phils on Friday night, Ramirez used Chicago's 3-0 lead to his advantage. He pounded the strike zone, daring the Phils to swing away. Three hard-hit balls translated into three routine outfield outs that earned him the save and Wood his seventh win of the year.

"We're playing good ball right now," Wood said. "We're not looking sloppy, we're making plays, we're hitting, we're moving runners over. It's all you can ask for, really."

Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for
Read More: Chicago Cubs, Travis Wood, Justin Ruggiano, Anthony Rizzo