Wood does it all in Game 1 victory

ATLANTA (AP) -- Cubs win! Cubs win!

A road game in the playoffs, no less.

Game 1 breakdown


Kerry Wood. Not only was he dazzling on the mound (7 1/3 solid innings), but he also sparkled at the plate (two hits, including a crucial two-run double in the sixth inning).


Russ Ortiz. After escaping jams in the first and fourth innings, Ortiz's luck ran out in the pivotal sixth inning as he allowed four hits and four runs.

Turning Point

Wood's two-run double, which at the time gave the Cubs a 3-1 lead, proved deadly for Atlanta. The Braves did mount a threat in the bottom of the eighth -- loading the bases on two separate occasions -- but managed to score only one run.

It Figures

When a team gets three hits, it's tough to win. And, you guessed it, the Braves were the ones who had only three hits. Amazing to say the least in that Atlanta led the National League with 1,595 hits during the regular season.

On Deck

Mike Hampton gets pressed into action in Game 2 as the Braves look to get even in the series. Hampton was impressive for Atlanta in the second half as he was 9-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 15 starts. Carlos Zambrano will start for the Cubs, and is coming off a shaky finish to the regular season (0-1 with a 10.25 ERA in his last two starts).

Holy cow.

Cheered on by thousands of their well-traveled fans, Chicago won

a postseason game outside of Wrigley Field for the first time since

1945 when Kerry Wood led the Cubs past the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on

Tuesday night in the opener of their NL division series.

Wood did it all -- on the mound and at the plate. He allowed just

two hits in 7 1/3 innings to the NL's best offensive team. He drove

in the go-ahead runs with a double off 21-game winner Russ Ortiz in

the sixth.

"He wanted this badly," said Dusty Baker, in his first year as

Chicago's manager. "A good pitcher turned into a great pitcher."

Thousands of Cubs fans roared when Wood drove in two runs with a

drive to the wall in left-center, breaking a 1-all tie.

"They've been following us all year," Wood said. "It sounded

like half and half."

Offense aside, it was Wood's work on the mound that really stood

out. He completely throttled the high-scoring Braves, a team that

had six players with 20 homers and four with 100 RBI during the

regular season.

Wood struck out 11. The only major slip-up came

in the third, when Marcus Giles homered.

"To give up two hits in 7 1/3 innings to that team and also

drive in the winning run, I'd say he was pretty locked in for this

game," said Joe Borowski, who struck out the side in the ninth for

the save.

Trailing 4-1, Atlanta scored a run and knocked out Wood without

getting a hit. A questionable call at first on a potential

inning-ending double play allowed the run to score.

But Kyle Farnsworth retired Javy Lopez on a bases-loaded

grounder to short.

"You know this can happen," Braves closer John Smoltz said.

"You can look at it like the glass is half-empty or half-full.

We've won three out of four before."

Lost in the hoopla over Chicago's 95-year drought without a

World Series title was this little nugget: The Cubs had lost eight

straight postseason road games since Claude Passeau pitched a

one-hitter to beat Detroit in Game 3 of 1945 World Series.

Of course, the Cubs lost that World Series, falling to the

Tigers in seven games. They've lost 10 straight postseason series

since winning their last World Series title in 1908.

The Cubs will go to Game 2 on Wednesday night with a chance to

take command of the best-of-five series. At worst, they'll head to

Chicago with a split at Turner Field and the next two games before

their adoring Wrigley rowdies.

Kline takes shot at Prior

ST. LOUIS -- The regular season may be over, but the war of

words between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals continues.

St. Louis reliever Steve Kline says he hopes Cubs right-hander

Mark Prior "takes a line drive to the forehead and we

never have to see him again."

The comments appeared yesterday on KSDK-TV in St. Louis.

Calls to Kline's home telephone went unanswered Tuesday.

Prior is scheduled to start Wednesday in Game Three of the Cubs'

first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Braves.

The Cardinals failed to make the postseason.

The teams' rivalry heated up this season. Earlier this month,

Prior told Sporting News Radio before a series between the

Cardinals and the Astros that he hoped Houston "beats

their brains in."

-- The Associated Press

Actually, the Cubs must feel like they're already at home. All

those Chicago fans contributed to an overflow crowd of 52,043 at

Turner Field, which had its first postseason sellout in three


While Atlanta's tomahawk choppers did their best to drown out

the Chicago contingent, they didn't stand a chance when Wood became

the first Cubs pitcher to drive in the game-winning run in a

postseason game since Orval Overall in the 1907 World Series.

"I knew if they traveled from Chicago to Puerto Rico, they

would go from Chicago to Atlanta," Baker said.

Ortiz escaped all sorts of trouble through the first five

innings -- the most serious jam coming in the fourth when the Cubs

loaded the bases with no outs. Alex Gonzalez took a called third

strike, Paul Bako went down swinging and Wood whiffed to end the


The Cubs started the sixth in identical fashion, loading the

bases with no outs on consecutive singles by Moises Alou, Aramis

Ramirez and Eric Karros. Hoping to change the dynamics, Baker sent

up Randall Simon as a pinch-hitter for Gonzalez, but he struck out


Ortiz had a chance to get out of the jam when Bako hit a slow

grounder to the right of first baseman Robert Fick. But the

converted outfielder couldn't make the scoop, though second baseman

Giles scooped up the ball and got Bako at first.

Alou scored the tying run, breaking Ortiz's 19-inning scoreless

streak dating to the regular season. Two pitches later, Ortiz was

knocked out by Wood.

"The 3-6-1 double play is always a tough one to turn," Ortiz

said. "But they got just one run out of it, with the pitcher

coming up. So I thought we were still all right. But I threw a ball

right over the plate, and he took advantage of it."

Ray King came on to face Kenny Lofton, who blooped an RBI single

to short-center to make it 4-1. King stood on the mound in

disbelief, hands on his hips.

It was a fitting picture for the Braves, winners of 12 straight

division titles but haunted by the chances that got away. Since

beginning its unprecedented run in 1991, Atlanta has just one World

Series title.

Last year, Ortiz beat the Braves twice to lead Baker's San

Francisco Giants to an opening-round playoff victory. Acquired

during the offseason, the right-hander had his best year -- but no

immediate impact on Atlanta's postseason fortunes.

Ortiz followed his usual routine. He fell behind hitters, gave

up eight hits and walked three, and kept finding ways to get out of


Until the sixth, that is.

It was too much to overcome against Wood, who came into the

postseason with a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings.

"He was really awesome tonight," Bako said. "I think the key

to him tonight was he was throwing his fastball in and out on both

sides of the plate."Game notes
Giles tumbled over first trying to beat out a grounder in

the sixth, causing what the team described as "bumps and

bruises." He was replaced by Jesse Garcia and will be re-evaluated

Wednesday. ... Jaret Wright, who started for Cleveland as a rookie

in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, pitched a scoreless inning for

the Braves. ... Passeau died exactly a month ago in Mississippi at

age 94.