Wood struck out 11 in seven shutout innings for Chicago, but the Cardinals rallied against five Cubs relievers for a 4-2 victory Wednesday night.
Tino Martinez hit a tying, two-run single and St. Louis took the lead on Kyle Farnsworth’s wild pitch in a four-run eighth. The Cardinals evened the series between NL Central contenders at a game apiece.
“You had to keep playing,” manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s one thing we have done over and over again this year. That’s the trademark of our club; even after a tough loss we play nine innings.”
The Cardinals stayed one game behind Houston in the NL Central. Chicago fell 1 1/2 games off the lead.
The Cubs fell to 5-24 at Busch Stadium since the start of the 2000 season. Sammy Sosa drove in both runs for Chicago.
“This will hurt a little bit,” Sosa said. “We should have won, no question about it.”
Wood blanked the Cardinals on four hits and was pulled after 125 pitches.
“I got in some jams early and I walked a couple of guys,” Wood said. “I was able to pitch out of them and continue to go at it, but it probably prevented me from going deeper in the game.”
Albert Pujols singled off Antonio Alfonseca to start the eighth and Jim Edmonds followed with a single off Mark Guthrie. Farnsworth (3-1) walked Scott Rolen to load the bases before Martinez singled on a 1-1 pitch.
“It’s always great to come up in those situations,” Martinez said. “That’s what you play for.”
On an 0-1 pitch to Edgar Renteria, Farnsworth threw a fastball in the dirt well in front of the plate and it bounced off catcher Damian Miller’s chest protector as Rolen trotted in with the go-ahead run.
Pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez drove in an insurance run with a bases-loaded groundout against Joe Borowski. Second baseman Ramon Martinez fumbled the ball, costing the Cubs a chance at an inning-ending double play.
“I don’t think we were that horrible,” Guthrie said. “The results were horrible.”
Steve Kline (5-5) got the last out in the eighth and Jason Isringhausen finished for his 15th save in 16 chances.
Williams failed in his sixth attempt at winning his 15th game, which would have matched his career best. He gave up a run on five hits in seven innings.
“I know I did my job,” Williams said. “Games like this and series like this is why I play the game.”
Wood reversed a shaky six-start stretch in which he’d allowed 26 earned runs in 32 innings and lost four of five decisions. He had five strikeouts in a row in the third and fourth, and battled out of jams in the first and third, stranding five runners in those innings.
Both times he got the best of Rolen, striking him out with runners on first and second to end the first and fanning him again on a checked swing with the bases loaded to end the third.
Wood increased his major league-leading strikeout total to 219 in 175 innings.
Sosa had an RBI single in the sixth for the game’s first run and added an RBI double off Mike DeJean in the eighth for a 2-0 lead. He had been in an 11-for-53 slump in his last 14 games with two homers and five RBIs.
Kenny Lofton’s bloop double, a wild pitch and Sosa’s line-drive single through a drawn-in infield put the Cubs ahead in the sixth. Lofton took advantage of right fielder Kerry Robinson’s loping approach to his hit to shallow right, legging out the extra base to start the inning.
Ramon Martinez singled with one out in the eighth off DeJean and Sosa followed with a run-scoring double.
Sosa also made a nice sliding catch on pinch-hitter So Taguchi’sopposite-field drive down the right-field line in the seventh.
Lofton is 33-for-109 (.303) in 18 games with the Cubs with 20 runs, 11 RBIs and nine steals. … Miller, who doubled in the fifth, is 8-for-17 against Williams. … Renteria, a late lineup addition for the Cardinals after missing Tuesday’s game with a back strain, was 0-for-3 with a double play ball, astrikeout and a popup.