By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
It was very clear very early that the way Kerry Wood was throwing, the Reds had no margin for error Wednesday.
Cubs starter Kerry Wood retired the first 17 Reds he faced Wednesday night.|
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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When they had a chance to make a play, they had to make it.
They made all but one and it cost them a 4-1 loss to Wood and the Chicago Cubs before a sellout crowd of 41,437 (39,053 paid, 2,384 straight-A students) at Great American Ball Park.
The play happened with two outs in the fifth inning and the score tied 0-0.
Tom Goodwin singled and stole second, and Mark Grudzielanek followed with a single to right.
Jose Guillen had a chance to get Goodwin at the plate. Guillen's throw was strong, but it was high and a bit up the line.
"A good throw gets him," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "We're expecting those kind of throws every time, but you don't get them."
Guillen, aware that Goodwin was running, charged on the play.
"It's one of those things," Guillen said. "I cost us three runs right there."
Three, because Sammy Sosa, just back from a seven-game corked-bat suspension, followed with a mammoth home run to make it 3-0 three pitches later.
If Goodwin had been out, Sosa wouldn't have come up in the inning.
"Such is life," Boone said.
The way Wood was throwing, a three-run lead might as well have been a 13-run lead.
"That's about as good as it gets as far as pitching," Sean Casey said. "You know one or two runs are going to win that game for him."
Wood retired 17 in a row to start the game. On the night, he allowed the one run on three hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine.
By taking two of the first three games of the four-game series, the Cubs will leave town with at least a three-game lead over the Reds in the National League Central.
It doesn't get any easier for the Reds today in the series finale. They face Mark Prior, who statistically is the best the Cubs have to offer. What the Reds have seen so far in this series has been impressive.
Matt Clement was good Monday.
Carlos Zambrano was better Tuesday.
Wood was a whole lot better Wednesday.
"They've got four No. 1s," Casey said. "Wood is a legit No. 1. He's probably the No. 1 No. 1."
Wood had an idea of how his night was going to go in the second. He fell behind Aaron Boone 3-0 but ended up striking him out on a slider in the dirt.
"That was the best slider I've had all year," Wood said. "It was one of those nights where I could think along with guys and set them up."
Pinch hitter Reggie Taylor broke up the no-hitter with a single in the sixth.
LOB-Chicago 7, Cincinnati 1. 2B-Grudzielanek 2 (18), Bellhorn (7). HR-JGuillen (12), off Wood; SSosa (7), off JHaynes. RBIs-Grudzielanek (13), SSosa 2 (29), Wood (4), JGuillen (32). SB-Goodwin (11). CS-Goodwin (2). GIDP-Bako, Kearns.
|Wood W, 6-5||9||3||1||1||0||9||108||3.06|
|JHaynes L, 1-6||5 2/3||10||4||4||2||0||104||7.16|
Inherited runners-scored-Mercker 2-0.
IBB-off JHaynes (Bako) 1.
Umpires-Home, Jeff Kellogg; First, Lance Barksdale; Second, Paul Emmel; Third, Joe West.
T-2:13. A-39,053 (42,263).
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