Cubs 1, Marlins 0

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MIAMI (AP)—Kerry Wood threw a three-hitter to beat the Florida Marlins earlier this month, and in the rematch he pitched even better.

Allowing just two hits, Wood outdueled Brad Penny to help the Chicago Cubs win 1-0 Saturday night.

The complete game was Wood’s third this season, and his second in a row— both against the Marlins. He beat them 5-1 on July 9.

“He’s nasty,” Florida’s Derrek Lee said. “When he’s on his game like that, you’ve got to scratch for a run.”

The Cubs scratched out their only run, which was unearned and came home on Alex Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

On a muggy, 83-degree evening, Wood threw 130 pitches, then spent 20 minutes in the training room recovering. He described his condition in single-word sentences.

“Tired. Beat. Drained. Dizzy,” he said. “I was running on fumes at the end.”

Wood (10-6) said he perspired so much he struggled to grip the ball.

“Sweat kept rolling off my hand,” he said. “I had to go to the resin bag a lot. It got to the point where I just caked the stuff on there, figuring if I put enough on it, something would stick.”

The shutout was his first since May 7, 2002, against St. Louis. He’s 4-0 lifetime against Florida with a 2.08 ERA.

Wood struck out eight to increase his season total to 164, most in the major leagues. He walked five and hitting a batter.

“He was just wild enough to be effective,” Florida’s Juan Pierre said. “He was out of the zone enough that you couldn’t get a rhythm on him.”

Penny (8-7) allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked one in eight innings. But the crowd of 30,432—third-largest of the season for Florida— had little else to cheer about.

“Brad Penny pitched well,” Wood said. “He had great stuff, and it’s too bad that he had to lose.”

Penny said he took the mound knowing he had to be sharp because he was matched against Wood.

“You can’t give up … one run, I guess,” Penny said with a chuckle.

The Cubs, who began the night below .500 for the first time this season, didn’t have a baserunner until Moises Alou doubled leading off the fifth. He took third when shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted a grounder, then scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly to shallow center by the Cubs’ Gonzalez.

The only other hit in the first five innings was by Florida’s Ivan Rodriguez, who doubled with two outs in the first.

The victory improved the mood of Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who was mad at his team’s performance in a 6-0 loss Friday.

“We didn’t do a lot, didn’t hit a lot, but we won, and that’s one that we needed,” he said.

Cubs backup catcher Paul Bako came off the bench in the sixth and promptly threw out Pierre and Luis Castillo back-to-back trying to steal.

“It was a warm and humid night. It wasn’t too tough to get loose,” Bako said. “Back in Chicago, I don’t know how well that would have turned out.”

Pierre, who leads the major leagues with 45 stolen bases, led off the sixth with a single but was thrown out on a hit and run when the Cubs pitched out. Castillo then walked and was also thrown out.

“When you’re not getting any hits, you try to make things happen,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “We tried and it didn’t work.”

Bako replaced Damian Miller, who departed with a sore chest after being hit by a foul tip in the fifth.

There were other defensive gems by the Cubs. Alou made a running catch in left field to rob Lee of an extra-base hit in the seventh, and Wood pickedPierre off first in the first.

Notes

Miller underwent X-rays, which were negative, and his status is day to day. “The way that ball hit him, you think it’s going to be a cracked rib or something,” Baker said. “I’m glad he’s going to be OK.” … Chicago’s Mark Grudzielanek went 0-for-4, ending his 10-game hitting streak. … Sammy Sosa also went 0-for-4, ending his seven-game hitting streak. … The Marlins have allowed nine runs in their past nine home games. … Wood has hit 12 batters to lead the majors. … Lee’s home run Friday for Florida was his fifth at homethis season. He has 15 on the road.

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