CHICAGO – Travis Wood knows all about pitchers who can swing the bat. After all, the left-hander is batting a respectable .246 with three homers this year for the Cubs.
He just plain made a mistake against Henderson Alvarez on Monday, and his fellow pitcher made him pay for it.
Alvarez hit a three-run homer on Wood’s first pitch to him in the second inning, leading the Miami Marlins to a 4-3 victory. The right-hander went 2 for 2, raising his average to .368 (7 for 19) on the season.
“I saw his average coming up and I knew he was going to be swinging and I just missed with the pitch,” Wood said. “He did what he needed to do with it.”
Wood (8-11) left a fastball over the middle of the plate and Alvarez drove it over the wall in left for his first career home run. Wood also yielded Christian Yelich’s third homer in the first.
“It was kind of a funny outing,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He couldn’t get the left-handed hitter in their lineup out and couldn’t get the pitcher out. Other than that, he dominated the rest of the lineup.”
Wood allowed nine hits in seven innings while falling to 1-3 with a 9.00 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins.
“It’s early in the ballgame, there’s a lot of game left so I just tried to go out there every inning and keep it right there, keep it close and give us a chance,” Wood said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to pull it out.”
Alvarez (3-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings before departing his first career appearance against the Cubs with a tight right hamstring. Steve Cishek got three outs for his 29th save in 31 chances.
Miami has won two in a row after a six-game slide.
The Cubs were trying to win three straight at Wrigley Field for the first time since July 6-9. They fell to 27-43 at home.
The Cubs scored three times in the bottom of the first for a 3-1 lead.
Anthony Rizzo and Dioner Navarro each drove in a run with the last two of four consecutive singles to begin the inning. Rizzo eventually came around on Nate Schierholtz’s sacrifice fly.
But the Cubs managed only four hits in the next eight innings. Ryan Sweeney’s leadoff double in the fourth gave the Cubs their only runner in scoring position after the first.
“After the first four hitters of the game we didn’t really put together anything,” Sveum said. “Sweeney put together a few hits and other than that we didn’t have a lot of at-bats going on.”
Alvarez’s homer came after Ed Lucas doubled and Jeff Mathis singled. It was the first homer by a Miami pitcher this season and gave Alvarez six career RBIs.
“I don’t know if you could ever predict that with a pitcher but he goes up there and he’s very athletic,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He gives us a good at-bat.”
Notes: Sveum said the Cubs will likely call up four or five players – a catcher and pitchers – in the coming days with the expanded roster. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker (Tommy John surgery) made his final rehab appearance, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings at Class A Kane County. Sveum said if Baker is activated from the 60-day disabled list, he will be used as a long reliever. ... Cubs LHP James Russell, who has appeared in 70 or more games each of the last two seasons, will not be restricted during the final month, Sveum said. Russell, the Cubs’ lone lefty reliever, will likely pitch only in games the Cubs are winning. ... In his 700th career game, Navarro went 2 for 4. ... Redmond said LHP Brian Flynn will be called up and make his major league debut Wednesday against the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.13 ERA).