In this game, things can change in a flash.
"That's baseball," is how Cubs players summed it up in the clubhouse after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Mets in front of 34,458 fans in the series finale at Wrigley Field.
It appeared the Cubs were cruising toward their third straight series victory Sunday afternoon, and Travis Wood had emerged as the would-be hero with a two-run homer and 6 2/3 stellar innings on the mound.
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But as the Cubs were nursing a 3-1 lead with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Wood got into a bind. He allowed a single to Mets shortstop Ruben Tejeda before Juan Lagares drilled a hanging changeup to left field for his first career home run, tying the game at three.
"That's baseball," Wood said. "Today was just one of those days. I was fortunate enough to get deep in the ballgame and keep us in there. I made a bad pitch and they tied it up.
"I wish I could have that pitch back. I went with the changeup and was trying to get it down. I just happened to leave it up and he put a good swing on it. As soon as it left my hand, I didn't like it. I was hoping he would pop it up or something, but he didn't."
The Mets took the lead for good in the eighth on Daniel Murphy's second home run in the series, and the Cubs, who were bidding for their third straight series win, were sent packing having dropped two of three to New York. The Cubs came into Sunday winners of seven of their last 11 games and are now 13-12 since April 23.
"Woody pitched another great game," manager Dale Sveum said. "Obviously would like to have that one pitch back. The last batter he was gonna face and he threw the worst pitch of the game in that situation.
"That was unfortunate, giving up [the second home run, to Murphy]. We pitched great; we just couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark at the times we needed to."
As it was, Wood received a no-decision , but still picked up his ninth straight quality start (defined as at least six innings pitched allowing three or fewer earned runs) to begin the 2013 season, allowing three runs in seven innings against the Mets. The last Cubs pitcher to rattle off nine straight quality starts was Steve Trachsel, who recorded 11 in a row in 1994. The franchise hasn't had a pitcher start the season with nine such outings since Mordecai Brown tossed 11 straight to start the 1908 season (and we all know what happened that year).
"It's a nice streak," Sveum said. "For him, it hasn't just been quality starts. They've been seven, eight innings of one run and two runs. He has just been really, really pitching extremely well."
Wood looks like something right out of a country music video, with his cowboy boots, bushy beard and slight twang to his voice. He doesn't seem to care too much about the streak, because he expects to pitch into the sixth, seventh or eighth inning every time out.
"I always had that [mindset], regardless of how things are going," Wood said. "That's gotta be the goal, that way you're getting deep into ballgames and helping your team win."