Wood gives up three homers, takes loss in season debut

CHICAGO (AP) -- Kerry Wood walked off the mound after the first

inning of his latest comeback and the fans gave him a standing

ovation. Eight pitches and two strikeouts were all it took to

retire the Washington Nationals.

For that brief time in the opening inning, he looked like the

ace he once was for the Chicago Cubs.

Elias Says

Damian Jackson
Damian Jackson hit a two-run home run off Kerry Wood in the Nationals' 5-3 win over the Cubs, and afterward expressed surprise that he got a pitch to hit with two outs, a runner on third, first base open, and the pitcher on deck. The only other National League player to hit a home run this season batting eighth with two outs, a runner in scoring position, and first base open was Ryan Langerhans (off Kevin Correia). The composite batting average of N.L. players in those at-bats is .208 (25-for-120).

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Then his pitches started drifting over the plate and the

Nationals started knocking them over the fence. Washington hit

three homers over the next two innings and went on to a 5-3 victory


"You still see the same pop out of his hand, it looks

effortless," said Nationals shortstop Damian Jackson, who had a

two-run homer in the second that gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"You know in the back of your mind, the things Kerry Wood is

capable of," said Jackson, who played seven games for the Cubs two

years ago. "A squirrel finds a nut every once in a while."

Ryan Zimmerman and Alfonso Soriano also homered off Wood (0-1),

helping Ramon Ortiz get his first win since last September.

Making his first start since last July 20 and first appearance

since a relief outing Aug. 29 before season-ending shoulder

surgery, Wood lasted five innings on a chilly 53-degree day at

Wrigley Field.

Wood gave up five hits, four runs with no walks and six

strikeouts during a 71-pitch outing against the Nationals, who'd

been shut out in the first two game of the series.

"I made a couple of bad pitches and a stupid pitch and it cost

me four runs," Wood said.

"I expect every time to go out and not give up any runs. But I

can't sit here and say I pitched bad. It didn't turn out the way I

wanted it to."

Zimmerman's seventh homer, a drive to left in the second off an

86 mph Wood pitch, ended the Nationals' scoreless streak at 22


"I think his miles per hour was a little down," Zimmerman

said. "It was 92 or 93. But he was coming off the DL."

One out after a bloop single by Marlon Byrd, who advanced to

third on a passed ball and grounder, Jackson homered to left -- just

his second of the season -- and Wood was in a 3-0 hole. The homer

was particularly disturbing because there were two outs and Ortiz

was on deck.

"I didn't get it to the spot and it ran back over the plate and

kinda ran into his swing," Wood said.

"I was quite surprised to be honest because it's so tough to

try and figure out what guys are going to do when you're hitting in

the No. 8 hole, you have an open base and the pitcher is behind

you," Jackson said.

Soriano hit his 13th homer leading off the third.

Ortiz (1-4), winless in his first seven starts this season, got

his first victory since last Sept. 10 against the Pirates. He

yielded eight hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Chad Cordero

pitched the ninth for his fourth save in six chances, getting out

of a first-and-third jam when Neifi Perez bunted back to him for

the final out.

"As surprised as everyone else in this ball park," Nationals

manager Frank Robinson said of Perez's surprise bunt attempt.

"Didn't work," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

"The third baseman was way back. He wouldn't have had a chance

to throw me out," Perez said. "I didn't get the job done."

Washington took a 5-0 lead when Marlon Anderson hit his first

homer of the season, a solo shot off Chicago reliever Will Ohman in

the sixth.

But the Cubs rallied for three in the sixth and drove Ortiz out.

Michael Barrett, Jacque Jones and Perez hit consecutive singles

for the first run. Another single by John Mabry loaded the bases

before Ronny Cedeno's sacrifice fly made it 5-2 and finished Ortiz.

Pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez greeted reliever Jon Rauch with an RBI

single and the lead was down to two before Mike Stanton got Juan

Pierre to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Wood was the 1998 Rookie of the Year and struck out 20 Houston

Astros in his fifth major league start. But he missed the entire

1999 season after elbow ligament replacement surgery and has been

on the disabled list nine times in his major league career,

including three times last season.

Wood's rehab was pushed back after minor knee surgery in early

March. He made two minor league rehab starts and threw 85 pitches

in five innings for Triple-A Iowa on May 12.Game notes
Washington's win came on the same day baseball owners

unanimously approved the $450 million sale of the team to Theodore

Lerner and Stan Kasten. ... Nationals OF Jose Guillen, who had to

leave Wednesday night's game prior to the bottom of the fourth with

a strained left hamstring, didn't play. The Nationals' lineup was

without four regulars Thursday, two of them injured and two others

getting the day off. ...Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez, forced out of

Wednesday night's game with a sore back, was also out of the

lineup, before his pinch-hit single in the sixth. ... Nationals

manager Frank Robinson had trouble putting on a jacket in his

office before the game because of a sore back but was on the bench.

He hurt his back before Wednesday night's game but after an

anti-inflammatory injection was able to manage. Robinson said

before Thursday's game he did not get another injection but did

receive some treatment.