Cubs 4, Pirates 0

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CHICAGO (AP)—Damian Miller thinks Kerry Wood and Mark Prior could be spoiling Cubs fans.

Wood struck out 13 in eight impressive innings, leading the Chicago Cubs past the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 Saturday, just three days after Prior struck out 12 in a complete-game shutout.

Wood gave up only three hits and allowed just one Pirate runner past first base.

“I think Cubs fans are going to be awful spoiled with these guys in the long run,” said Miller, who homered and drove in two runs. “Their mental makeup is right where it needs to be and their stuff is always going to be there. It’s just a matter of those guys being consistent every fifth day.”

Wood (2-0) has struck out 26 in 20 innings over three starts this season. He walked four and was pulled after 122 pitches.

“He was throwing breaking stuff for strikes and when he does he’s awfully tough,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We ran into a guy who’s pretty special.”

Wood took advantage of the wind blowing in on a chilly spring day.

“Today for me was a great day for me to pitch with the wind howling in, and with days like that you can get away with more mistakes,” Wood said.

The Pirates did not threaten until the ninth, when they put two runners on base against reliever Mike Remlinger. Joe Borowski took over and got two outs for his second save.

Miller hit a solo home run off Kris Benson (2-1) in the third for a 2-0 lead.

Kevin Young, making his first start in right field since Sept. 21, 1996, dropped Corey Patterson’s fly ball at the warning track in the Cubs seventh for a two-base error.

One out later, Miller drove in Patterson with a single. After a sacrifice by Wood, Mark Grudzielanek hit an RBI single for a 4-0 lead.

Patterson hit a two-out double in the second inning and Mark Bellhorn drove him in with a single, snapping an 0-for-24 slump.

Benson pitched seven innings and gave up four runs, two of them earned, andstruck out six.


Wood has 27 double-digit strikeout games in his career. … The Pirates placed left fielder Brian Giles on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right knee. Adam Hyzdu was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. Pirates OF Matt Stairs didn’t start because of a sore hamstring, forcing Young and Craig Wilson to make rare appearances in the outfield. Wilson also dropped a fly ball for an error. … The Pirates didn’t have an extra-base hit for the second straight day and have just four in their last six games. … The Cubs pitching staff has retired 105 batters via the strikeout over 11 games, anaverage of 9.5 per game.

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