Kerry Wood ends the debate: 20-strikeout game's hit was legit

Kerry Wood ends the debate: 20-strikeout game's hit was legit

While no one debates that on May 6, 1998, Kerry Wood completed one of the finest pitching performances in MLB history, Wood said Friday that the lone hit he allowed in his 20-strikeout game - that could have been ruled an error - was legitimate.

The rookie, making his sixth career start, struck out 20 batters, allowed just one hit and went the distance in a 2-0 Cubs victory. Wood needed 122 pitches to slice through the Astros lineup, which included a pair of future Hall of Famers in Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.

But it's that lone hit - a seemingly meaningless Ricky Gutierrez single in the top of the 3rd - that some Cubs fans still debate to this day. Gutierrez, batting 7th, took a Wood pitch and grounded it in between third base and shortstop. Third baseman Kevin Orie ranged to his left on the well struck ball, and it caromed off his glove into left field.

Gutierrez got to third base on a sacrifice bunt and later on a Wood balk, though Wood got Biggio to ground out to end the inning.

There's some thought that Orie's stab at the grounder - a diving attempt could have stopped the ball - could have been ruled an error. It wound up being the only hit Wood gave up that day, and a ruling of an error would have given the 20-year-old a no-hitter.

But Wood, filling in Friday for Jim DeShaies on the CSN broadcast of Cubs-Brewers, put the debate to rest.

"Hit all the way, as soon as I saw it," Wood said. "Never crossed my mind that that was an error or they were going to give him an error. Never glanced at the scoreboard. It was a hit all the way."

There you go. Case closed.

Also, Wood was of course impressed with striking out 20 batters in a single game. But to him, walking zero batters on an Astros team that led the league in on-base percentage was what impressed him most. Check out the entire interview in the video above.

Cubs finish off spring slate on CSN

Cubs finish off spring slate on CSN

The Cubs will finish off their round of exhibition games in 2017 with a spring tilt against the Astros in Houston Friday afternoon on CSN.

Coverage begins at 1 p.m. and will be immediately followed by Cubs Season Preview. Be sure to follow along with In-Game Live.

Kyle Hendricks gets the ball for the Cubs and will be opposed by Astros righty Joe Musgrove.

The Cubs lost Thursday night in Houston, but Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo each went deep and Kyle Schwarber added two hits while also seeing some time at catcher and throwing out a baserunner.

Following today's game, the Cubs will have Saturday off before Sunday night's season opener in St. Louis against the Cardinals in a Jon Lester vs. Carlos Martinez pitching matchup.

White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana is glad for distraction from rumor mill

White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana is glad for distraction from rumor mill

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and David Robertson appear to share a mutual disdain for hot stove rumors.

A day after the White Sox closer spoke about the difficulty of seeing his name involved in persistent trade talks this winter, Quintana echoed those same sentiments on Wednesday morning. Preferring only to address the constant trade talks once this spring, Quintana, a first-time All-Star last season, said he’s glad to have his focus returned to baseball after a long winter. Quintana — who produced 4.8 f-WAR in 2016 and received a fifth-place vote for the American League Cy Young Award — said he couldn’t avoid the trade chatter over the winter, where he was quite possibly the most rumored player in baseball.

“I feel really good, excited for a new year, a new camp, spring training again,” Quintana said. “You never know what’s going to happen, but during the offseason I heard a lot of rumors. But I said the same thing every time: ‘You don’t have control over that.’ Keep doing my preparation for the new year, new season and that’s about it.”

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Only a few weeks ago Quintana said he wants to remain with the White Sox, the franchise where he has blossomed into one of the best pitchers in baseball. He may not have the same pizzazz as Chris Sale, but Quintana has just as much consistency, producing 18.1 f-WAR over the past four seasons.

Throw in a 3.35 ERA, four consecutive seasons with 200 or more innings and his outstanding contract (he’s owed $36.85 million through 2020 if his team options are exercised) and it’s no wonder that Quintana’s name popped up across sports tickers everywhere throughout the winter. Whether it was Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh or the New York Yankees, it seems like just about every team entertained a deal for Quintana this winter and none escaped the rumor mill.

Even though the season is officially underway — Quintana threw his first bullpen on Tuesday — the chatter isn’t likely to slow down. General manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that he expects teams to continue making inquiries and he plans to keep answering the phone. But Quintana said he won’t allow lingering trade talk to distract him from his many goals, including pitching for Colombia next month in the World Baseball Classic and returning to the All-Star Game again in July.

“Absolutely not (it won’t be a distraction),” Quintana said. “I just try to keep my mind on the game and do my job every five days and help my team and that’s all I can do. I spend my time with my teammates and we all work hard.

“Yeah it’s a little bit hard when you hear too many things about rumors every time. But I don’t pay attention to that. I just put my focus on all the things I need to do, every bullpen, workouts and everything to be ready for Day 1.”