Despite a subpar performance Thursday, Eaton posted a 10-7 win at Pittsburgh, equaling his previous longest win streak established from April 28-May 21, 2001. The 25-year-old right-hander went five innings, giving up six earned runs and six hits, including three homers. He also walked four.
Eaton had a 1.33 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing four earned runs over 27 innings.
“Eaton didn’t have his best stuff,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “In the sixth, it looked as if he just hit a wall. He battled back.”
Eaton will oppose Wood, who leads the majors with 182 strikeouts, for the second time this season. Eaton outdueled Wood in a 2-0 road victory on April 23, pitching seven innings of five-hit ball while striking out a career-high 12.
Wood struck out 11, but struggled with his control, hitting three batters and walking another three. He allowed two earned runs and five hits in seven innings.
“When facing Kerry Wood,” Eaton said, “you have to have your game on the A level.”
The Padres dropped the series opener 3-0 on Tuesday.
San Diego managed just three hits as it lost for the seventh time in 12 games.
The Cubs are 2 1/2 games behind Houston for first place in the NL Central.
STANDINGS: Cubs - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL Central. Padres - 5th place, 27 GB, NL West.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Wood (10-8, 3.49 ERA). After winning five of six starts, Wood has lost two in a row. During the slide, the right-hander has given up 12 earned runs and 10 hits over 11 innings. He has also walked eight, but has 18 strikeouts. In a 6-3 home loss to San Francisco last Wednesday, Wood allowed four runs and three hits while striking out nine over six innings. In three career starts against the Padres, Wood is 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Eaton (6-7, 4.15 ERA). Eaton is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cubs - Mark Grudzielanek, .305 avg.; Sammy Sosa, 24 HRs; Moises Alou, 70 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 65 runs and 21 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .319 avg. and 49 runs; Ryan Klesko, 20 HRs and 59 RBIs; Ramon Vazquez, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cubs - RHP Wood is 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA on the road this season, with 69 strikeouts in 62 1-3 innings. … 3B Ramirez has four RBIs in his last six games. … RF Sosa is batting .300 (6-for-20) over his last five games with two homers and eight RBIs. Padres - 2B Mark Loretta is batting .363 (87-for-240) since May 27. … RF Phil Nevin has hit safely in eight of 10 games since returning from the DL on July 23. He’s hit three homers and driven in nine runs in 10 games. … LF Rondell White, the only current Padre with a homer off Wood, is 4-for-10 with five RBIs in his career against the right-hander.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cubs - 29-25 on the road; Padres - 22-33 at home.
INJURIES: Cubs - 2B Grudzielanek (hand), 15-day DL; OF Tom Goodwin (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Corey Patterson (knee), 60-day DL. Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL.