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'1 bad pitch' slams Cubs, Wood
Barry Bonds broke a window in an apartment building Wednesday with a batting-practice home run, one of a dozen or so shots he cranked onto or over Sheffield Avenue.
But it was San Francisco third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo who wound up breaking the Cubs' backs in a 6-3 victory, dropping them back to the .500 mark again at 53-53.
Alfonzo's second-inning grand slam off Kerry Wood provided starter Jason Schmidt with a comfy 4-0 lead, and Schmidt outpitched Wood to even the series at a game apiece.
"I just had a bad pitch," Wood said. "It was one of the only balls hit hard all day."
The Cubs trail Houston by 4½ games in the National League Central Division.
Schmidt (11-4) was nearly untouchable in his second victory over the Cubs this year, taking a no-hitter into the sixth and allowing two runs on two hits in a six-inning outing.
Wood made only one mistake in his six innings of work, but Alfonzo managed to make the most of it.
After Wood walked Bonds leading off the second, Andres Galarraga reached on a hard smash off the glove of third baseman Aramis Ramirez. After Wood walked Jeffrey Hammonds to load the bases, Alfonzo hit one to the fence at the back of the bleachers in left-center field, giving the Giants all the runs they needed.
"I thought the ball was in off the plate and down," Wood said. "I'd be kicking myself if I got beat on a day by leaving the ball up and giving up a home run there.
"You know going into a game facing Schmidt if you give up too many runs early, it's just going to be a long day. I gave up a four-spot in the second and didn't give my team a chance."
After Alfonzo's blow took the crowd of 39,973 out of the game, the Cubs were history.
"That was a big blow, especially with a quality pitcher out there," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. Schmidt "was unhittable for six innings."
Wood struck out nine and allowed only three hits but saw his record fall to 10-8. It was the second straight start in which Wood served up a game-turning grand slam.
Philadelphia's Bobby Abreau knocked out Wood with a grand slam in the Phillies' 14-6 rout last Thursday at Wrigley Field.
Schmidt retired the side in order in the first four innings and stranded a leadoff walk in the fifth before walking Paul Bako to lead off the sixth.
With one out Kenny Lofton broke up the no-hit bid with a two-run shot into the right-field bleachers, his first home run as a Cub, cutting the deficit to two runs.
"Things are going to turn around," Lofton said. "You just can't expect something to happen. Sometimes you run into good pitching."
The Giants added two runs with Antonio Alfonseca on the mound in the eighth and ninth innings, prompting Alfonseca to get booed coming back to the dugout not once, but twice.
Opposing hitters are batting .208 against Alfonseca on the road but .321 at home.
"Ballplayers are human too," Baker said. "If you sat with your wife or your son and you keep talking to her and telling her how bad her meals are, after a while she's going to think they are bad.
"So you just have to give him some positive reinforcement. I'm sure it affects him."