Wood dominates Reds on mound, at bat for Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) -- Kerry Wood delivered his best start of the season when the Chicago Cubs needed him the most.

Wood pitched six solid innings and hit a key RBI single to get his first win since July 15, leading the Cubs past the Cincinnati Reds 7-3 on Monday.

Todd Walker hit a two-run homer and Matt Murton also homered for Chicago, which snapped a six-game losing streak and won for just the fifth time in 26 games.

Making his third start since shoulder surgery last Aug. 31, Wood allowed two runs -- one earned -- and scattered nine hits. He struck out four and walked one.

"Anytime you have Woody on the mound, he makes everybody better," Walker said. "You can hear him yelling out there, he is energetic. As you saw today he does it with the bat, too. I love playing behind him because he brings a lot of energy to the field."

Wood (1-1) helped himself out with an RBI single in the fourth to give Chicago a 3-2 lead. He also doubled in the second inning. Wood said he used his changeup to keep Cincinnati off balance.

"I made some good pitches and mixed in just about everything," he said. "The changeup was pretty good for me today. I threw it more than I normally do and it was working, I was getting them to put the ball in play and trying to keep the pitch count down the best I could and we just stuck with it."

Adam Dunn hit a solo shot in the eighth inning for the Reds, who lost for the 15th time in 24 games.

Murton led off the sixth with his fourth home run and Walker made it 6-2 with a two-run drive off Kent Mercker in the seventh. Walker went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

The Cubs had a team meeting before the game.

"It was kind of a rallying the troops kind of a thing. We obviously had our struggles and we have to put that behind us now and try to win baseball games," Murton said. "Unfortunately we have been really close in a lot of these games and we found a way to let it slip away."

Ryan Dempster, who had three blown saves in his previous four outings, struck out Austin Kearns for the final out in the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save in 12 opportunities.

Ryan Freel doubled against Dempster in the ninth but the replays clearly showed the ball bouncing out of the basket in left-center, signifying a home run. Reds manager Jerry Narron spoke to second base umpire Jim Joyce. The umpires gathered together to discuss it and agreed with the original call. Narron again went to speak to Joyce before leaving the field.

"They [the umpires] do the very best they can. If it would have been a one-run game, I would still be out there on the field," Narron said.

Chicago's Tony Womack doubled against his former club in the first inning and scored on Walker's two-out single. Aramis Ramirez
followed with a bloop double down the line in right to drive in Walker and give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Womack began the season with Cincinnati, which designated him for assignment April 24. He signed a minor-league deal with Chicago on May 17 and batted .467 in five games for Triple-A Iowa before the Cubs purchased his contract on Friday.

Trailing 2-0, Brandon Phillips led off the third against Wood with a single and went to second on a passed ball. Phillips moved to third on a groundout and scored on Felipe Lopez's two-out single.

Kearns drove in Ken Griffey Jr. with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to tie it.

Elizardo Ramirez (2-4) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings for Cincinnati.

"He's done a good job for us. We don't have any complaints. Everybody is pretty happy with the way he's pitched," Narron said.

Game notes
After Aramis Ramirez caught a popup in the third inning he received sarcastic applause from the fans after dropping a popup that led to the winning run in Sunday's extra-inning loss to the Braves. ... Lopez committed his 11th error of the season by overthrowing first base on Womack's grounder in the third inning. ... Walker stayed in the game after taking a hard grounder from Griffey off his body in the fourth inning. Walker was shaken up at first but stayed in the game after meeting with the team trainer and Cubs manager Dusty Baker. ... Actor Vince Vaughn was the guest singer for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." ... Phillips left the game with a tight right hamstring in the fifth inning.