Travis Wood took his share of lumps in August, losing three in a row for the scuffling Chicago Cubs. He ended the month with a bang, outpitching Clayton Kershaw in a matchup of All-Star lefties.
Wood limited the Dodgers to one unearned run in a 3-2 victory Tuesday night that snapped Chicago’s eight-game skid against first-place Los Angeles.
”To go seven innings and give up one run is huge,” Wood said. ”He’s pretty much the best pitcher in the game. I was fortunate to go out and make some good pitches and keep us in there. You know he’s bringing his `A’ game and his `B’ game is pretty solid.”
Wood (8-10) allowed five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two for his first victory since July 28 at San Francisco.
”He matched him pitch for pitch and actually outdid him,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ”That was as good a stuff as he’s had in a long time.”
Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth to earn his 27th save in 32 chances.
The Cubs, who had lost eight of 10, ended their longest slide against Los Angeles with their first win at Dodger Stadium since 2011.
After losing 6-2 against Zack Greinke in the series opener, the Cubs caught Kershaw on a decidedly off-night for the ace who came in with a major league-leading 1.72 ERA. Kershaw’s streak of 18 scoreless innings, dating to Aug. 17, ended in the third when the Cubs took a 1-0 lead.
”We battled and took advantage of the few mistakes he made,” Sveum said. ”It’s pretty much one of our most satisfying wins, that’s for sure.”
Kershaw (13-8) gave up two runs – one earned – and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. The left-hander struck out nine and walked three.
”You’re never going to have your best stuff every game, so you’ve got to figure out ways to get some guys out regardless,” he said. ”There were too many guys on base, too many walks, too many times behind in the count. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go deeper into the game for our guys, but I was just trying to limit the damage.”
Cody Ransom hit Kershaw in the left ankle leading off the sixth, and the pitcher departed the game four batters later after giving up a two-out single to Starlin Castro, who got two hits off Kershaw to end an 0 for 13 career drought against him.
Dioner Navarro’s RBI single scored Wood, who singled leading off the third. Kershaw was more impressed with Wood’s throwing.
”He’s an All-Star for a reason,” Kershaw said. ”He kept us off-balance and had a good cutter working the whole game.”
Los Angeles trailed 3-2 in the eighth on Andre Ethier’s RBI single up the middle. The Dodgers had the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker grounded into an inning-ending double play.
”He went after guys with the fastball,” Navarro said of Wood. ”It was a great group effort.”
The Cubs made it 2-0 in the sixth on Castro’s RBI single. Ransom’s single to third bounced off Kershaw, and Darnell McDonald walked. Cole Gillespie struck out before Ransom took third on Kershaw’s wild pitch. He struck out Wood and then Castro singled.
Chicago extended its lead to 3-1 in the seventh on pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic’s double-play groundout that scored Navarro, who singled leading off.
The Dodgers closed to 2-1 in the sixth on Juan Uribe’s RBI single with two outs that scored Hanley Ramirez, who singled and took second on Wood’s throwing error.
Notes: The Cubs improved to 31-35 on the road compared to 25-41 at home. … Kershaw is three strikeouts from posting his fourth straight 200-strikeout/200-inning season. … The announced sellout crowd of 52,326 made the Dodgers the first major league team to surpass 3 million for the season. It is the quickest the club has reached that mark since 2008, when it also did so on Aug. 19 in the 67th home game. The Dodgers have totaled 3,048,474 in attendance. … Chicago natives Bob Newhart and John C. Reilly attended the game.