NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
Wood silences Braves in Game 1
Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 1, 2003 at 12:55 a.m.
ATLANTA - They came by the thousands, intent on helping their beloved Cubbies break a 58-year losing streak in postseason road games by transforming Turner Field into Wrigley Field South.
Kerry Wood allowed only two hits and drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the sixth inning off Russ Ortiz, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of their NL division series.
Wood's two-run double, which broke a 1-all tie, made him the first pitcher to drive in the game-winning run in a postseason game since Oval Overall for the Cubs in Game 4 of the 1907 World Series.
But it was Wood's work on the mound that stood out. He completely throttled the high-scoring Braves, a team that produced six players with 20 homers and four with 100 RBIs during the regular season.
Wood struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings. The only major slip-up came in the third, when Marcus Giles homered.
Trailing 4-1, Atlanta scored a run and knocked out Wood without getting a hit. A questionable call at first on a potential inning-ending double play allowed the run to score.
But Kyle Farnsworth retired Javy Lopez on a bases-loaded grounder to short, and Joe Borowski allowed a hit but struck out the side in the ninth for the save - completing the three-hitter.
Lost in the hoopla over Chicago's 95-year drought without a World Series title was this little nugget: The Cubs had lost eight straight postseason road games since Claude Passeau pitched a one-hitter to beat Detroit in Game 3 of 1945 World Series.
Of course, the Cubs went on to lose that World Series, falling to the Tigers in seven games. They have lost 10 straight postseason series since winning their last World Series title in 1908.
Maybe this time will be different. On the first day of spring training, first-year manager Dusty Baker told his players to forget the past and create some new Cubs' history.
Baker also knows something about beating the Braves. He guided the Giants to a first-round victory over Atlanta on the way to the World Series.
Now, his new team will go to Game 2 on Wednesday night with a chance to take command of the best-of-five series. At worst, they will head back to Chicago with a split at Turner Field and the next two games before their adoring Wrigley rowdies.
Actually, the Cubs must feel like they're already at home. Thousands of Chicago fans were part of the overflow crowd of 52,043 at Turner Field, which had its first postseason sellout in three years. They made their presence felt - and heard.
While Atlanta's tomahawk choppers did their best to drown out the Chicago contingent, the roar was enormous when Wood lined a 1-0 pitch to the wall in left-center to break a 1-all tie in the sixth.
Ortiz, who led the NL with 21 wins, was behind in the count on 16 of 27 hitters, and threw first-pitch balls to 12 of those.
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