Joe Blanton got the first two outs to start his outing, but then the trouble started. Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano hit back to back jacks to put the Cubs ahead early 2-0. For Rizzo, that was his first home since June 23. The long ball parade did not end there either. The struggling Starlin Castro got a boost of confidence with a solo shot of his own in the third inning, his fifth of the season. Dioner Navarro doubled and Nate Schierholtz was hit by a pitch, with both runners along for the ride on the Darwin Barney homer to left to blow the game open 6-0. That was his fifth round tripper on the season as well and was the knockout blow for Blanton.
Meanwhile, Cubs starter Travis Wood was on cruise control until the seventh inning. After allowing a single in the first to Albert Pujols, a play on which the villain of the Friendly Confines was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double, Wood retired 14 straight batters. A Blanton bloop single snapped that streak in the sixth inning. The Cubs lone All Star representative finally allowed a pair of runs in the seventh, when a Pujols home run cashed in a lead off walk to make it 6-2. Wood got into a little more trouble despite getting the next two outs and was replaced by Matt Guerrier. The recently acquired righty was able to get out of a bases loaded jam after adding a walk of his own.
Wood finished with another quality start and collected five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings worked. The W evened his record at 6-6 and was his first win since May thanks to some tough luck and lack of support from teammates. Soriano added his second tater in the seventh for good measure, giving him 15 on the season and on pace to exceed 25 home runs for the year. Blake Parker and Pedro Strop handled their respective solo innings of work to wrap up the win for Wood, with Strop picking up two Ks in the process.
The Cubs have crept up to eight games under .500 at 40-48 and currently hold a four game winning streak.