Looking to win a third consecutive start, Wood takes the mound opposite Gee as the Cubs and Mets conclude a three-game set Sunday at Wrigley Field.
Among the major league leaders with a .175 opponent batting average, Wood (4-2, 2.03 ERA) has allowed three or fewer runs and gone at least six innings in all eight of his outings. He's already two victories away from matching his total from all of last season.
"He's doing a lot of this without secondary pitches," manager Dale Sveum told MLB's official website. "It's not like he's throwing a lot of curveballs or changeups. He's mixing in those pitches and using them when he has to against people who are vulnerable, and able to use both sides of the plate and be aggressive."
After allowing one run and six hits over 6 2-3 innings during a 2-1 win over St. Louis on May 7, Wood scattered two hits over seven scoreless frames in Monday's 9-1 victory over Colorado.
"Tomorrow's a new day. You've got to get after it and put my work in," said Wood, who went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Mets last season. "If I feel like I need to work on something, work on it and take the ball that fifth day and hopefully be able to keep it going."
Having recorded one quality start in eight tries, Gee (2-5, 6.13) is just hoping to get on track. The right-hander's woes continued Tuesday in a 10-4 loss at St. Louis, surrendering six runs, nine hits and three walks over four innings.
"I don't know what's going on," said Gee, who induced 12 ground balls. "I don't even know what to say, really. I didn't feel all that bad tonight. I'm a ground-ball guy, and I think seven ground-ball hits got through. I don't know what else to do."
Gee's 11.34 road ERA is by far the highest mark among NL pitchers with at least four road starts. He had gone 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA versus Chicago (18-24) before allowing one run over eight innings in a 3-1 victory July 7.
Gee will try to slow down a Cubs team that's won five of seven while hitting .368 with runners in scoring position. Chicago went 4 for 9 in such situations Saturday, and Nate Schierholtz and Anthony Rizzo both went deep in the 8-2 victory.
"Whenever you get an opportunity to get runs, you gotta seize those opportunities," said Rizzo, batting .390 with four homers and 16 RBIs in the last 21 games.
Rizzo is 12 for 29 with two long balls in seven games against the Mets (16-24).
After taking Friday's series opener, New York lost for the seventh time in nine games. The Mets are hitting .223 and have posted a 5.96 ERA during that stretch.
"If you get down and you let this get to you, you're going to lose 10 in a row," manager Terry Collins said. "You've got to stay upbeat."
While some of his teammates look lost at he plate, second baseman Daniel Murphy has gone 14 for 28 with one homer and five doubles during a seven-game hitting streak.
|New York Mets|
|May 14, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|May 09, 2013||Jeurys Familia||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|April 29, 2013||David Wright||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|April 23, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Lower right leg contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|April 14, 2013||Steve Clevenger||60-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|April 13, 2013||Steve Clevenger||Day-to-Day||Left oblique injury|
|April 13, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|April 13, 2013||Kyuji Fujikawa||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|March 31, 2013||Darwin Barney||15-Day DL||Left knee laceration|
|March 31, 2013||Scott Baker||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
CHICAGO (AP) -- The New York Mets wanted more pop up top, and hoped Daniel Murphy could provide it.
He delivered, hitting a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning that sent the Mets over the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Sunday for their first series win at Wrigley Field since 2007.
The Mets won two of three on this trip to Chicago.
Murphy batted leadoff for the first time this season and fifth time in his career. He'd mostly been in the second slot this season.
"It's still always about quality at-bats," Murphy said.
Murphy hit a leadoff shot against reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (1-1). Murphy has homered twice in three games and has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he's batted .469 (15 for 32) with seven extra-base hits.
Manager Terry Collins indicated Murphy might remain in the leadoff spot.
"I feel like I'm taking better swings," Murphy said. "I feel better with my swing. I'm also getting better pitches to hit. When your swing is going good, you feel comfortable at the plate. You just don't miss them. That's kind of where I'm at."
Mets rookie Juan Lagares hit his first major league homer, a tying, two-run drive in the seventh against starter Travis Wood .
"I wish I could have that pitch back," Wood said. "I went with a changeup, was trying to get it down and happened to leave it up. He put a good swing on it and hit it out."
Lagares planned to keep the baseball, which a fan threw back onto the field.
"When I came here I just tried to keep doing the same thing I was doing in Triple-A," Lagares said. "The key is to keep working hard."
Scott Rice (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings. Bobby Parnell earned his sixth save.
Wood hit his first homer of the season and fourth of his career, clearing the left-field bleachers with a two-run drive off Dillon Gee in the fifth to end a scoreless tie.
"I felt like I located fairly well today, other than a couple pitches that really hurt me," Gee said. "Wood hitting the home run kind of surprised me because I was throwing so many sliders to him. It was like he was sitting on the fastball as soon as it left my hand."
Wood made his ninth straight quality start, allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two. The last Cubs starter to begin a season with at least nine straight quality starts was Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown in 1908.
"Wood was throwing the ball well today," Murphy said. "He didn't make a whole lot of mistakes. The one that did, Juan did a great job capitalizing on it. It was an awesome first home run."
The Mets cut the lead to 2-1 in the sixth on a walk to Gee, a forceout, a wild pitch and an RBI single by David Wright .
The Cubs extended their lead to 3-1 in the bottom half on Ryan Sweeney 's leadoff homer. It was his first home run since July 27, 2011, when he played for Oakland.
Gee allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. He has allowed nine runs in his last nine innings and hasn't won since May 1.
"When he's making his pitches with his changeup, which is his No. 1 pitch anyway, he's effective," Collins said.
Sweeney tried to stretch a leadoff double into a triple in the fourth but was thrown out at third. The Cubs also had leadoff doubles in the first and fifth.
NOTES: The Cubs announced reliever Michael Bowden will be designated for assignment to make room for RHP Matt Garza , who is coming off the disabled list on Tuesday. ... Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo struck out in the first inning, ending 39 straight at-bats without a strikeout. ... Cubs RHP Carlos Villanueva was available. He moved to the bullpen to make room for Garza, who will make his season debut on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Garza strained a back muscle in spring training. Villanueva (1-3) hasn't won since April 18. He has made 245 of his 309 career appearances as a reliever.