Cubs 3, Padres 2
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Kerry Wood got rattled and unrattled in the span of an inning. He jawed with the umpire, even told him to put his mask back on.
Wood faltered a bit in the sixth when he walked two, then allowed Rondell White’s RBI single to left with one out. Unhappy with the way plate umpire Larry Vanover was calling pitches, Wood had words with him.
“I just thought maybe he had missed a few pitches and apparently he thought that I’d shown him up on the previous pitch and so he took his mask off. I didn’t feel I’d shown him up enough to take his mask off. That’s why it escalated to what it did.”
Wood told Vanover to put his mask back on.
“That was a first. It will probably be the last time I tell him that,” Wood said. “At that point I wasn’t really worried about much. It was an incident that I hope didn’t look too childish out there. But in the heat of the battle, sometimes stuff like that happens.”
While going out to the mound the next inning, Wood said he smoothed things over with Vanover.
Wood leads the majors with 192 strikeouts. He moved within nine of 1,000 lifetime in 133 big league starts. The big right-hander struck out the side on 10 pitches in the fifth; the only ball he threw was on the second pitch to Ramon Vazquez.
Wood said he’s not thinking about stats.
“Right now I’m thinking about winning the pennant. I’m more worried about Houston and St. Louis than anything I’m doing personally.”
The Cubs jumped past St. Louis and trail Houston by 2 1/2 games in the NL Central.
Wood (11-8) gave up Mark Loretta’s homer to left-center field leading off the eighth that cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Wood struck out Phil Nevin on his 118th pitch, then made way for left-hander Mark Guthrie.
Wood allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked four.
“At times I was spotting my fastball and at times I was missing by three feet, it seemed like,” Wood said.
Nevin, who was ejected for reacting angrily to his strikeout, said Wood was dominant.
“He was on when he needed to be,” Nevin said. “When we needed the big hit is when he got dominant. That’s what good pitchers do.”
Sosa hit an impressive two-run homer off Adam Eaton (6-8) in the fourth inning, his 25th of the season and 524th of his career. He fell behind 0-2 on a curveball and 94-mph fastball, took a ball and then drove a 93-mph fastball into the seats just to the left of the tarped-off “batter’s eye.” Ramon Martinez was aboard on a leadoff single.
Center fielder Mark Kotsay stopped after two steps and watched the ball sail well over his head.
“It was a good pitch in theory,” Eaton said. “I was trying to go up in the strike zone. But he put it in the trash can, that’s for sure.”
The Cubs made it 3-0 in the fifth when Kenny Lofton singled in Gonzalez, aboard on a leadoff double.
Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 25 chances.
Eaton pitched well, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings andstriking out eight while walking only one.
After striking out against Wood in the eighth, Nevin slammed his helmet to the ground, then ripped off his batting gloves and tossing them over his head as he headed to the dugout. Finally, he threw a trash can from the dugout. Nevin was mad because plate umpire Larry Vanover called a strike on a checked-swing on an 0-1 pitch. First base ump Gary Darling apparently thought Vanover was signaling for help on the call and indicated no swing. Nevin struck out swinging on the next pitch. … Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, sidelined all season after having two offseason shoulder surgeries, threw 30 pitches off a mound and said he felt fine. It was his second throwing session in the last several days. If all goes well, Hoffman could be back in September. He’s fifthon the career saves list with 352.