Travis Wood (5-4, 4.35) had his longest outing of the year and the Chicago Cubs got some clutch work out of the bullpen to garner a 3-2 win over the Padres at Petco Park on Saturday night.
Wood was on from the outset and got the win to send his record over .500 for the first time this season. After going seven strong innings, Wood ran into trouble in the eighth when he walked lead-off hitter Yasmani Grandal then pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin hit a two-run home run to left field that trimmed the Cubs lead to 3-2.
The bullpen was lights out from there.
Right-hander Neil Ramirez struck out the only two batters he faced to finish the eighth and Hector Rondon pitched a perfect ninth to get the save – his sixth of the season. Rondon threw only four pitches in his one inning of work.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Nate Schierholtz singled in Luis Valbuena, who hit a solo shot to right in the sixth for another run. Wood delivered what turned out to be the winning run with a single to score Schierholtz later in the inning.
The hit came after Darwin Barney, batting .181 on the year, was intentionally walked to get to Wood, who is now hitting .211 on the season.
After a shaky outing against the White Sox earlier this month, Wood has turned things around by concentrating on throwing strikes in his last two outings. Tonight he walked only two and gave up an infield single to the first batter he faced – and not another one until the seventh inning.
It may have been the quickest and easiest saves the Cubs have gotten in a one-run game all season – all of four pitches from Rondon to finish. This is the third consecutive series that the Cubs have either split or won and they can win this one with a win tomorrow afternoon as they try to take three out of four from the offensively challenged Padres.
Sunday’s game will start at 3:10 CST and again will be on WGN-TV and WGN Radio 720-AM. Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.91) will face off with Ian Kennedy (2-6, 3.79) before the Cubs will head north to take on the first-place Giants in San Francisco for three games.