|Chi. Cubs (88-58) «||0||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||3||7||0|
|St. Louis (78-68)||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||2||10||1|
The Chicago Cubs' closer has allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in September with two losses and a blown save. On Thursday night, he escaped, working around two hits in the ninth in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
"It was fun when it was over," Wood said. "That's something. It was a tough spot. You never want to put yourself in a situation like that, facing the best hitter in the game, but it came out on the right end."
Rich Harden worked six solid innings and Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Mike Fontenot drove in runs for the Cubs, who lead Milwaukee in the NL Central by 5½ games with 16 to play after taking two of three from the Cardinals.
The Cubs flew home after the game for a few days to await a decision on the schedule for a three-game series that was to have begun on Friday in Houston. The first two games have been postponed in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ike.
The Cardinals remained 4½ games behind the Brewers for the NL wild card and are 1-10 in one-run games since July 22, the lone victory coming in the series opener Tuesday.
"Those are the games that didn't turn around, and that's the reason we're in as difficult a spot as we're in," manager Tony La Russa said. "Those are all winnable games."
Pujols drove in his 100th run with a sixth-inning double, becoming only the third player in major league history to reach the milestone in his first eight seasons. Al Simmons did it his first 11 seasons, and Ted Williams also did it his first eight.
He extended his major league-record streak of reaching 30 homers and 100 RBI in his first eight seasons, two more than any player in history. He has nine RBI in his last five games and is hitting .360, two points behind Atlanta's Chipper Jones for the NL batting title.
Manager Lou Piniella had a short meeting with Wood right before he faced Pujols, finishing with a wave of his arms as he returned to the dugout.
"I was saying 'Go do it!"' Piniella said. "We held on. Pujols vs. Kerry Wood, it doesn't get any better than that."
La Russa faulted home plate umpire Mike Reilly for calling a high strike on a 2-0 pitch to Pujols, when it appeared Wood was pitching around the Cardinals' star to set up a bases-loaded confrontation against cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick. But Pujols had no excuses.
"I wanted to hit in that situation, so I don't blame the umpire," Pujols said. "I got a good pitch to hit and I couldn't come through. You can't come through every time."
Harden (5-1) allowed two runs and five hits in his first appearance since working five innings Aug. 29 against Philadelphia and then skipping a turn due to arm discomfort. His three strikeouts were one above his season low. He's won five straight decisions over eight starts since his lone NL loss on July 21 at Arizona, when he allowed one run and one hit in seven innings of a 2-0 loss.
Carlos Marmol escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth with the help of two defensive gems: left fielder Alfonso Soriano's diving grab on a sinking liner by Pujols and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome's leaping grab at the wall to rob Felipe Lopez of extra bases. Pinch-hitter Josh Phelps struck out for the final out and is 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and a walk against Marmol.
The Cubs capitalized on three walks, a wild pitch and a fielding error to go ahead 2-0 in the fifth, with both runs unearned against Todd Wellemeyer (12-7). Theriot walked with the bases loaded for the first run in the inning, one of four walks by Wellemeyer in a five-inning stint.
Pujols botched Reed Johnson's routine grounder with a man on first, dropping the ball while pivoting to make a forceout throw at second. Lopez, the third baseman, appeared to get the ball stuck in his glove on Lee's bases-loaded RBI grounder, settling for a throw to first instead of a shot at a force at the plate.
"That happens, though, that's baseball," Wellemeyer said. "It's frustrating but it's part of the game and you've got to work through it."
Lopez, filling in while Troy Glaus waits for results from a second cortisone shot to his sore right shoulder, had errors on consecutive plays in a 4-3 loss on Wednesday.
Consecutive doubles by Mark DeRosa and Fontenot began the sixth off Kyle McClellan for a 3-0 lead, ending 9 2/3 scoreless innings from the Cardinals' bullpen. McClellan, a rookie appearing in his 65th game, recovered to strike out four of the last six hitters in a two-inning stint.
Harden limited the Cardinals to three singles before the sixth, when Pujols' RBI double and a run-scoring single by Lopez cut the deficit to a run.
|Geovany Soto greets Kerry Wood after Wood works out of a ninth-inning jam for his 30th save. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Alfonso Soriano, LF||3||0||1||0||2||2||0||.287|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||4||0||2||1||1||0||0||.309|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||5||0||0||1||0||2||4||.292|
|Aramis Ramirez, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||.280|
|Mark DeRosa, RF-2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.285|
|Mike Fontenot, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.298|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Felix Pie, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Geovany Soto, C||3||1||0||0||1||1||3||.288|
|Reed Johnson, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.305|
|Kerry Wood, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Rich Harden, P||3||0||0||0||0||0||5||.087|
|Jeff Samardzija, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kosuke Fukudome, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|2B - Alfonso Soriano (25, Wellemeyer), Mark DeRosa (27, McClellan), Mike Fontenot (20, McClellan)|
|RBI - Ryan Theriot (37), Derrek Lee (82), Mike Fontenot (37)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Rich Harden (W,10-2)||6||5||2||2||1||3||0||2.04|
|Jeff Samardzija (H,2)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||1.96|
|Carlos Marmol (H,27)||1||2||0||0||1||1||0||2.66|
|Kerry Wood (S,30)||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||3.45|
|IBB - Kennedy by Carlos Marmol|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 86-55, Jeff Samardzija 7-5, Carlos Marmol 27-16, Kerry Wood 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 3-12, Jeff Samardzija 1-2, Kerry Wood 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Rich Harden 24, Jeff Samardzija 4, Carlos Marmol 6, Kerry Wood 5|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Skip Schumaker, CF||5||0||1||0||0||0||2||.305|
|Aaron Miles, LF||4||1||1||0||1||1||2||.315|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||3||.360|
|Ryan Ludwick, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.296|
|Felipe Lopez, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.262|
|Adam Kennedy, 2B||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.267|
|Jason LaRue, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.236|
|a- Josh Phelps, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||.278|
|Mark Johnson, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Todd Wellemeyer, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.154|
|b- Nick Stavinoha, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.216|
|Kyle McClellan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Braden Looper, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.255|
|Russ Springer, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ryan Franklin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|d- Brendan Ryan, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.246|
|Cesar Izturis, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.249|
|a-struck out for LaRue in the 8th|
|b-singled for Wellemeyer in the 5th|
|c-hit a sacrifice bunt for McClellan in the 7th|
|d-doubled for Franklin in the 9th|
|2B - Albert Pujols (40, Harden), Brendan Ryan (9, Wood)|
|SH - Braden Looper (13)|
|RBI - Albert Pujols (100), Felipe Lopez (34)|
|2-OUT RBI - Felipe Lopez (14)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Ryan Ludwick 1|
|DP - Ludwick-LaRue|
|E - Albert Pujols (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Todd Wellemeyer (L,12-7)||5||3||2||0||4||2||0||3.63|
|WP - Todd Wellemeyer (7)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 91-57, Kyle McClellan 30-18, Russ Springer 21-14, Ryan Franklin 25-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 4-9, Kyle McClellan 1-1, Ryan Franklin 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 22, Kyle McClellan 8, Russ Springer 4, Ryan Franklin 5|
|Attendance - 44155|
|Game Time - 3:06|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez|