The Cubs are perfecting the art of kicking and screaming.
But it doesn't mean they always will get their way.
Kerry Wood was the latest Cub to toss a temper tantrum in public, confronting home-plate umpire Eric Cooper over a close ball four to Cincinnati's Adam Dunn in the ninth inning Saturday that helped the Reds score twice in their 3-2 victory at Wrigley Field.
An exasperated Wood lost his temper when manager Dusty Baker came to take him out. Wood ran toward Cooper at home plate to shout his displeasure and invade his personal space.
"I'm glad I didn't slip," Wood said.
Players from both teams have roundly criticized the umpiring crew of Mike Reilly, C.B. Bucknor, Chuck Meriweather and Cooper during this series.
"Eric deemed they were balls and they were balls," crew chief Reilly said. "Wood obviously didn't think they were balls and he had a confrontation with the home-plate umpire. And the home-plate umpire just handled it the way it should be handled. He did his job."
Baker took off to restrain Wood during the altercation.
"It made me nervous because [Wood] had a full head of steam," Baker said. "I didn't want [Wood] to bump him or anything."
Wood was officially ejected from the game, which likely will lead to a fine, even though he was coming out anyway in favor of Kent Mercker. When he stormed into the dugout, Wood slammed his cap down and threw a batting helmet out on the field.
Cincinnati took its 3-2 lead after Sean Casey led off with a single and Dunn drew his second walk. Wood showed his agitation over the close call on Dunn by gesturing angrily toward Cooper. When Cooper walked toward the mound to confront Wood, catcher Michael Barrett stepped between the two to diffuse the situation.
"It looked like a strike to me. When you get to the ninth inning and wait 2½ hours to get to that point, and you don't get a call it's frustrating," said Wood, who threw 131 pitches.
When order was restored Ryan Freel bunted the runners to second and third. Jason LaRue followed with a sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Juan Castro with the tying run and Wily Mo Pena doubled to score Dunn with the go-ahead run.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the sixth after Sammy Sosa reached on an infield hit and advanced to third on a single by Moises Alou, who worked Reds starter Cory Lidle to a nine-pitch at-bat. Aramis Ramirez grounded out to third, allowing Sosa to score. Derrek Lee then drove in Alou with a single.
The Reds cut the Cubs' lead in the seventh when Dunn led off with a home run to make it 2-1.
The Cubs earlier had squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Todd Walker singled before Corey Patterson's grounder forced him out at second. Sosa then doubled to put runners on second and third before Alou walked. But with one out, Ramirez bounced into a double play to end the threat.
While the wind was blowing out Friday to aid the 21-run output, a 10-m.p.h. breeze blowing in from the northeast Saturday changed the course of the game.
"There were some balls hit [Saturday] that didn't go anywhere," Baker said.