Eaton's location leaves Cubs feeling lost

CHICAGO (AP) -- Adam Eaton is going to remember this game for a

while.

Less than two years after having elbow ligament replacement

surgery, Eaton struck out a career-high 12 Wednesday, pitching the

San Diego Padres to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"I had good location early, but it seemed like it got better. I

was able to hit the corners really well," said Eaton, who won for

just the second time since the surgery. "I had a couple of good

games last year, but today was definitely a special day."

San Diego took advantage of Kerry Wood's wildness, scoring two

runs off his mistakes, and Eaton (1-1) took care of the rest. The

Padres stopped a six-game losing streak and handed the Cubs their

first shutout loss this season.

Eaton began his career with a promising start, jumping from

Double-A to the majors in 2000. He started the next season 6-2, and

was leading the Padres in wins (eight) and strikeouts (109) before

surgery on Aug. 21, 2001.

While it takes most pitchers more than a year to recover from

the surgery, Eaton was back in the majors last Sept. 1. He started

that night, and went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts.

"He had a long road with the surgery," Padres manager Bruce

Bochy said. "He's recovered now and he's been pitching great."

He certainly was Wednesday, scattering five hits over seven

innings and walking just two.

He got into a couple of jams, but always managed to come up with

the big pitches when he needed them. And none were bigger than the

ones he made in the fourth inning.

The Cubs loaded the bases on back-to-back walks by Hee Seop Choi

and Corey Patterson. Eaton fell behind Mark Bellhorn 3-2, but got

him swinging. He then struck out Damian Miller, escaping the jam.

"He was on today," said Sammy Sosa, who was 2-for-4. "When I

saw him get out of that jam with the bases loaded, that was

everything there."

Matt Herges pitched two hitless innings for a save in his first

opportunity of the year.

"When facing Kerry Wood," Eaton said, "you have to have your

game on the A level."

Even if Wood doesn't have his best stuff.

Wood (3-1) struck out 11 and allowed only five hits in seven

innings. But he struggled with his control, hitting three batters

and walking another three.

Wood got into trouble in the second inning, allowing a leadoff

walk to Xavier Nady and a double to Mike Rivera. He struck out

Shane Victorino and Eaton, but Ramon Vazquez doubled just inside

the right-field line to score Nady and give the Padres a 1-0 lead.

Wood got into another jam in the fifth, hitting Ryan Klesko in

the foot with two outs. He walked Rondell White, and Sean Burroughs

followed with an RBI single.

Wood then hit Nady, but he struck out Mike Rivera to get out of

the inning without further damage.

"I got into a little funk there where I was rushing," Wood

said. "Fortunately I was able to keep it down to two runs, but it

wasn't enough today."

It could have been worse, too. San Diego stranded 10 while he

was in the game, including three runners at third.

"He pitched too good to lose," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

"It's our first shutout this year. You've got to give Eaton some

credit, because he threw the ball well.

"That was probably the best ballgame thrown against us this

year. He made some pretty good hitters look bad."

And now that the surgery is behind him, the Padres hope there

will be more games like this in Eaton's future.

"This was a big game and I'm happy for him," Vazquez said.

"He was throwing strikes, and that was the key. He got ahead the

whole game. That was real fun, sitting back there watching."

Game notes

Wood's loss was his first of the season. ... The victory

was just the third on the road for San Diego this year, and the

first day road win. ... Klesko has reached base safely in 16

straight games. ... Eaton's previous high in strikeouts was 10.