Prior, Wood combine for 11 strikeouts in Cubs' win
CHICAGO (Ticker) --
were supposed to form a formidable 1-2 punch in the
' rotation. They proved to be a pretty effective combination against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Prior and Wood combined for 11 strikeouts in eight innings and pinch hitter
broke a sixth-inning tie with a two-run single as the Cubs posted a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.
Chicago expected to build its team around Wood and Prior, a pair of young, hard-throwing righthanders that led the Cubs within one game of the World Series in 2003.
However, Wood has been moved to the bullpen after a series of arm injuries and had made four relief appearances since being activated from the disabled list August 5, but had not pitched in a game started by Prior until Sunday.
"It wasn't the plan at the beginning of the year but it is now," Cubs manager
said. "You can see why we put Wood out there, it's a pretty good tandem."
"Kerry just came out the first few outings to get his feet wet," Prior said. "Now he is throwing it extremely well, and it is good to see him doing what he likes to do."
Prior (8-4) yielded three runs and seven hits with four walks in six innings, striking out seven en route to his first win in five starts.
"They are a good offensive team that battles," said Prior, who threw 123 pitches. "They fought off a lot of pitches that were close, the main thing is that we won the game."
Wood took over and recorded four strikeouts in two hitless innings - the first time he has pitched more than an inning since coming off the DL. In six relief innings, Wood has yielded just one hit while striking out 10.
"In this role you really don't have to hold anything back," Wood said. "You do have to stay within yourself, and my pitches have been working well since I have been down there."
Despite his success as a reliever, Wood said that he expects the move to be temporary.
"I plan on being a starter," Wood said. "For a few more years."
gave up an unearned run in the ninth, but got St. Louis slugger
to ground out with the potential game-tying run on second base for his 16th save in 18 chances.
"We had a shot to win," Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa
said. "That pitch was exactly where it was supposed to be, so Dempster got the out."
After the Cardinals rallied from a 3-1 deficit, the Cubs moved back in front in the sixth against
opened the frame with a line drive that deflected off Morris for a single.
"It got me on the palm down low near my wrist," Morris said. "It was a bad pitch and Burnitz did what he was supposed to do with it, drive it up the middle. I didn't even see it."
Morris stayed in the game and loaded the bases before Macias, who was pinch hitting for Prior, sent an 0-1 pitch into center field to score Burnitz and
to make it 5-3.
hit his first major league homer in the second for the Cardinals, who finished a 4-3 road trip.
Morris surrendered five runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings and failed to record his 100th career victory. After winning 11 of his first 13 decisions, Morris is 2-4 with a 5.28 ERA in his last seven outings.
"I was getting ahead in the count," Morris said. "Just the last few starts I have left a few pitches too much over the white of the plate."
Patterson hit his first homer since being recalled from Class AAA Iowa in the second and
delivered solo shot in the fifth - his first home run since being acquired before the trade deadline from Pittsburgh - for the Cubs, who took three of four from the Cardinals following an eight-game losing streak.
"Our guys stepped up and got key hits," Baker said. "Matt getting his first home run for us and Macias too."