Wood tosses gem, taking shutout into the eighth
Starter holds Padres to two runs and drives in one to help his cause
SAN DIEGO -- Left-handed starter Travis Wood admitted to being surprised at a key juncture of the Cubs 3-2 win Saturday night over the Padres at Petco Park.
And it had nothing to do with the two-run homer Padres pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin hit in the eighth to end Wood's bid for his first Major League shutout.
With Nate Schierholtz at second and two out in the sixth, Padres right-handed starter Billy Buckner intentionally walked Darwin Barney to pitch to the pitcher.
"I understand it, but I was a bit surprised," said Wood. "But you know me. I liked it."
See, Travis Wood sees himself as a hitter. Over the course of his career, he has a .183 average with seven homers and 23 RBIs.
The latest came Saturday night.
With two on and two out in the sixth, Wood lined a single to left to score Schierholtz and give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. The way the game turned out, that was the winning run.
Wood held the Padres to two runs on three hits over 7 1/3 innings to improve to 5-4 while leading the Cubs to their fifth win in the last seven games.
But he had been working on a two-hit shutout with one out in the seventh when he walked Yasmani Grandal to bring up Quentin, who had missed the past four games with a groin injury.
Quentin drove the second pitch he saw from Wood 405 feet into the stands in left to bring the Padres to within a run. San Diego never got any closer.
Right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez, who turns 25 Sunday, used a nasty slider to strike out the only two hitters he faced to finish the eighth.
And Hector Rondon retired the Padres in order in the ninth to pick up his sixth save.
If Wood had retired Quentin, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said he would have allowed the 27-year-old to continue in his bid to get that first shutout.
"He was getting tired," said Renteria. "He was close to a hundred  pitches. But he would have gone on until someone got on base."
Quentin, however, ended the debate.
"I thought Wood did a great job," said Renteria. "He attacks the strike zone. He keeps it low, but he can elevate when he has to."
"He had a low fastball with late life in the hitting area," Padres manager Bud Black said of Wood. "It's a quick arm, a live fastball and it has some action. It's tough to dig out."
"I felt good all game," said Wood. "The fastball was locating down. I got some quick outs. I made a bad pitch to Quentin. The cutter didn't get in."
The last hitter Wood faced was probably no more frustrating than the first.
Everth Cabrera opened the game by hitting a high chop off home plate that Wood fielded on top the mound without time to make a play. That single was the only hit the Padres had until Chase Headley singled in the seventh. In between, the Padres had only two baserunners -- one reaching on a two-base throwing error by shortstop Starlin Castro.
Meanwhile. the Cubs scored three runs off Buckner, who was promoted from Triple-A El Paso earlier in the day.
Luis Valbuena, who started at third, scored the first run after walking and made it 2-0 with a solo homer in the sixth into the short-porch seats down the right-field line.
Right fielder Schierholtz singled home the Cubs first run and scored the third on Wood's single. Schierholtz had doubled with two out in the sixth.
Wood, the eighth left-handed starter the Padres have faced this season, allowed two walks while striking out three.
Renteria likes what he has seen from his team recently.
"We're playing better," he said. "We're putting together better games. But it's about consistency over the long haul."