Wood beat the Marlins 5-1 in his last start on July 9 to improve to 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA against them. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched a three-hitter, striking out 12 as he recorded his second complete game of the season.
It was the seventh time this season, and 34th in his career, that Wood struck out at least 10. The hard-throwing righty leads the NL with 156 strikeouts.
Wood hopes to get the struggling Cubs back on track. Chicago has lost four of five to fall 4 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central.
Ugueth Urbina pitched a perfect eighth in his home debut for the Marlins after being acquired from the Texas Rangers last week, and Braden Looper pitched the ninth as the Marlins sent the Cubs below .500 for the first time this season.
Florida third baseman Mike Lowell the opener to have an MRI and other tests on his sore left groin. Marlins manager Jack McKeon said the medical examinations were being conducted as a precaution, in hopes that Lowell’s nagging groin problems doesn’t worsen.
“We’d rather have him out for a few days than for a long time,” McKeon said.
McKeon said he did not know how long Lowell had been bothered by the injury, or how serious it was.
STANDINGS: Cubs - 3rd place, 4 1/2 GB, NL Central. Marlins - 3rd place (tied), 13 1/2 GB, NL East.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Wood (9-6, 3.19 ERA). Wood has struckout at least eight batters in seven of his last nine starts. Opponents are hitting .202 against him.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Brad Penny (8-6, 4.55 ERA). Penny is 3-1 in his last four starts. The 25-year-old right-hander went eight innings, allowing four runs and five hits to earn a 5-4 win over Montreal on July 11. He’s 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA in two career starts against Chicago.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cubs - Sammy Sosa, .310 avg., 18 HRs and 52 runs; Moises Alou, 56 RBIs; Tom Goodwin, 18 SBs. Marlins - Luis Castillo, .307 avg.; Lowell, 28 HRs, 76 RBIs and 62 runs; Juan Pierre, 45 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cubs - RHP Wood is tied with teammate RHP Matt Clement with a major league-leading 11 hit batters. … 1B Eric Karros went 2-for-3 on Thursday to raise his average to .328. He hit .271 with Los Angeles last year. … SS Alex Gonzalez is 4-for-7 with three doubles in his career against Penny. Marlins - 3B Lowell’s 28 home runs are tied for second in the NL. … OF Pierre is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts against Wood. … Rookie OF/3B Miguel Cabrera made his second start at third base on Thursday. Cabrera, who played all but three minor league games at third base, has played LF in his other 28 major league games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cubs - 23-23 on the road; Marlins - 26-19 at home.
INJURIES: Cubs - OF Corey Patterson (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL. Marlins - RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL.