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Wood Has Right Stuff and Overpowers Braves

April 12, 2004|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Pitching with a cut on his pitching hand, Kerry Wood tied a Chicago Cub record with seven consecutive strikeouts and finished with 11 in a 10-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Wood opened a scab on the top of his right thumb and kept having to wipe his hand on his uniform.

"As long as I get the job done, I don't care what I look like," Wood said.

Corey Patterson, Michael Barrett, pinch-hitter Alex Gonzalez and Moises Alou homered to support Wood, who gave up one run and five hits in seven innings.

Relying primarily on his fastball and slider, Wood (2-0) got all seven batters swinging during his streak, retiring the first six on sliders.

The streak began in the third inning, after Mark DeRosa walked, and Marcus Giles singled and stole second. Chipper Jones, J.D. Drew and Andruw Jones fanned.

"With the guys they had up there, that was the turning point of the game," Cub Manager Dusty Baker said. "Those guys are not easy to strike out."

Julio Franco, Johnny Estrada and Jesse Garcia struck out in the fourth, and pitcher Russ Ortiz (0-2) struck out leading off the fifth. DeRosa then flied to right.

"At that point, he just took control of the game, and it was his game," said Barrett, the Cub catcher.

Wood struck out seven in a row as a rookie against the Houston Astros on May 6, 1998, when he tied the record of 20 in a nine-inning game. Teammate Mark Prior struck out seven in a row against the Astros on Aug. 5, 2002.

Wood said his index finger on his right hand hit the top of his thumb on some pitches, opening the cut.

"I don't think you're allowed to put a Band-Aid on your pitching hand," Wood said.

Wood, who led the majors with 266 strikeouts last season, took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up consecutive doubles to Franco and Estrada that cut the lead to 4-1.

Wood then struck out pinch-hitters DeWayne Wise and Adam LaRoche, and got DeRosa on a fly-ball out.

"When we had a situation where we could do some damage, he always got out of the jam," Andruw Jones said.

It was Wood's 38th game with 10 strikeouts or more.

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