Cubs 2, Dodgers 0

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CHICAGO (AP)—Kerry Wood had a great day on the mound and at the plate.

Wood homered and allowed four hits in eight innings Saturday, leading the Chicago Cubs over the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0.

“It was his best outing in a long time,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “He got his pitch count up a little bit early in the game, but he settled down later. It was a wonderful day for Woody.”

Wood (7-5) struck out seven and walked three as Chicago won for just the third time in eight games and took a one-game lead over San Diego in the NL wild-card race. He hit his seventh homer in 305 career at-bats in the third inning off Kazuhisa Ishii (11-6), a drive into the left-field bleachers against a 15 mph wind.

Chicago added a run in the fifth when Michael Barrett tripled leading off and scored on Corey Patterson’s two-out single.

Wood got out of trouble in the second inning after David Ross doubled with two outs and Alex Cora held at third. Ishii ended the inning with a groundout, starting a streak of eight straight batters retired for Wood.

Pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski walked with one out in the eighth and Cesar Izturis singled, but Steve Finley grounded out and, after Milton Bradley loaded the bases with a walk, Adrian Beltre struck out when he wasn’t able to check his swing on Wood’s slider.

“We saved the slider,” said Barrett, Chicago’s catcher. “That was the game plan today, and he got the job done and he did what he wanted to do today. Up to that point, Kerry hadn’t really thrown that many sliders so I knew it was still going to be a sharp slider if we had to go with it.”

Baker has considered taking out Wood, who struck out Beltre with his 121st pitch.

“I was nervous. Beltre is an MVP candidate,” Baker said. “In that situation, I said that’s Woody’s game.”

Chicago added a run in the fifth when Barrett tripled leading off and scored on Corey Patterson’s two-out single.

Mike Remlinger finished with a one-hit ninth for his first save since Aug. 22, 2001, for Atlanta against San Diego.

Ishii (11-6), starting because Brad Penny has an injured right biceps, gave up six hits in seven innings. Los Angeles, the NL West leader, had won eight off 11.

“Kazuhisa Ishii pitched a great game for us. He did a terrific job,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. He was just a victim of a guy that did just a little bit better today, but we know that Kerry Wood is capable of doing things like that.”

Nomar Garciaparra started a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth with a nice pickup of Beltre’s hard grounder, and left fielder Moises Alou made a diving catch in the seventh on Shawn Green’s line drive.

“I think defense won this game for us,” Wood said. “Moises made a great play out in left. Nomar, you can’t say enough about him at short. He came up with some huge plays for us and a big double-play there.”

Los Angeles looked ahead to the possibility of facing Wood again in the playoffs.

“He has good stuff, there is no doubt about that, but I don’t think he is unhittable,” Jayson Werth said. “We didn’t get any runs today, but I don’t think that will be the case next time when we face him.”


Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez missed the game to rest his sore right groin. He left Thursday’s game against the Padres after four innings and sat out Friday. He is day to day. … Cubs closer LaTroy Hawkins sat out the second game of a three-game suspension. … Ishii will start Thursday against Atlanta. … Chicago has five shutouts this season; Los Angeles was blanked for the eighth time.

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