There was nothing wrong with the Cubs on Labor Day once Kerry Wood went to work with Sammy Sosa and the rest of the "first team" behind him.
Wood struck out four Milwaukee Brewers in one inning and hit a two-run home run. Sosa, back after missing nine games with a sore back, hit his 44th homer of the season as the Cubs beat up on the Brewers 17-4 in Game 2 of a doubleheader.
The blowout gave the Cubs a split for the day. In falling 4-2 in the opener, in which they employed a lineup packed with rarely used players, they blew numerous scoring chances.
Manager Bruce Kimm's Game 1 lineup contained only two regulars playing their usual positions, Sosa in right field and Moises Alou in left.
In the nightcap, Wood (10-8) pitched with the "A" team behind him.
"I watched the first game and didn't even think about our lineup," said Wood, who held the Brewers to one run and five hits in seven innings. "I don't think about our lineup. I think of the lineup I have to face."
The Game 2 lineup produced 14 hits, including homers from Alex Gonzalez, Bill Mueller and Todd Hundley besides Wood and Sosa.
All five Cubs homers came off reliever Andrew Lorraine, the ex-Cub who was torched for nine runs after starter Ben Diggins suffered a similar fate; he yielded eight runs in only 11/3 innings.
"I felt kind of bad for Andrew because he's my friend," Wood said. "I had two strikes on me, so I choked the bat and tried to put it in play. And I hit it out."
Hundley had been the target of boo-birds until he hit his fifth-inning home run. In the fourth, he committed a throwing error and twice failed to block low pitches that Brewers swung at and missed for strike three. Both runners reached and Wood was charged with wild pitches. This enabled him to fan four in the inning.
"Actually, those were pretty bad pitches," Wood said. "They dropped down and were hard for Todd to handle."
Diggins, the Dodgers' first-round draft pick in 2000, was called up Sunday from Double-A Huntsville.
"He had control trouble," Wood said. "We got all those walks (six) and scored six runs early. That makes it a lot easier to pitch."
In the first game, the Brewers hit four home runs, one apiece by ex-Cubs Jose Hernandez and Eric Young and two by Ronnie Belliard. The Cubs' offense consisted of Alou's two-run first-inning homer followed by repeated blown opportunities.
Strikeouts by the team that leads the majors in whiffs sabotaged two of the would-be rallies. Sosa and Alou fanned successively in the fifth with runners on first and third and no outs. In the sixth, Kimm didn't pinch-hit for either of this weekend's callups, catcher Mike Mahoney and relief pitcher Pat Mahomes, and both fanned.
"Mahomes is not too bad a hitter," Kimm said. "And we had a lot of game left."
Winning pitcher Glendon Rusch (8-13) left after six innings and 121 pitches. He struck out Mahoney and Mahomes, the last two batters he faced.
Record tied: Wood's four strikeouts in one inning tied a club record. Jim Davis did it at St. Louis on May 27, 1956, and Bill Bonham did it against Montreal on July 31, 1974.
Wood also became the first Cubs pitcher to hit a home run since he hit one off Houston's Jose Lima on May 2, 2000.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times