Cubs 1-hit LA with 7 innings of perfect relief

Cubs 1-hit LA with 7 innings of perfect relief

CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward hit an RBI single and scored on Anthony Rizzo's double in the fifth inning to lift the Cubs to their sixth straight win, a 2-0 victory on Monday over the Dodgers in front of a Memorial Day crowd of 41,470 at Wrigley Field, but Travis Wood was the hero of the day.

"It was truly Travis Wood's day," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the lefty. "He set that whole game up."

Sweetest relief: Perfect day for Cubs' bullpen

Wood (four innings), Justin Grimm (one), Pedro Strop (one) and Hector Rondon (one) combined to throw seven perfect innings in relief of starter Jason Hammel, who had to leave after two innings because of cramping in his right hamstring. The Dodgers, who arrived in Chicago early Monday after playing in New York on Sunday night, managed one hit, a bloop single by Justin Turner with two outs in the first off Hammel that dropped between Heyward and Ben Zobrist in shallow right.

Turner gets Dodgers' only hit

"Our game plan is always to try to get a starting pitcher out of the game and get to the bullpen," Turner said. "That's exactly what we're trying to do, [is] get starters out of the game and into the bullpen. Their bullpen just came in and did a good job today."

The last time a team threw a one-hitter in a game the starting pitcher went two innings or fewer was Sept. 3, 2002, when the Rangers one-hit Baltimore despite starter Aaron Myette being ejected without recording an out. The Astros threw a combined no-hitter against the Yankees on June 11, 2003, after starter Roy Oswalt exited following just one inning due to a groin injury.

The Dodgers have totaled one hit in their last two games against the Cubs. Monday's meeting was the first since Jake Arrieta no-hit Los Angeles last Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers have hands full with Cubs' pitching

It's only the second time a Cubs starter has not gone at least five innings this season. The rotation has been a key to the Cubs' strong start, and the pitching staff began the day with the best ERA in the National League.

"At this particular moment, we think he'll be fine for his next start," Maddon said of Hammel.

Cubs perfect in relief

Dodgers lefty Alex Wood struck out seven over five innings and took the loss to drop to 0-4 in six road starts. 

Chicago's 35-14 start is the franchise's second best, topped only by the 1907 team which began the season, 38-10.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hit machine: Zobrist singled to open the Chicago fifth and reached third on an error by right fielder Yasiel Puig, who overran the ball. For Zobrist, it extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He then scored on Heyward's infield hit that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez fielded but had no one to throw to as no one covered first. One out later, Heyward scored on Rizzo's double to right for a 2-0 lead. It was Rizzo's first extra-base hit since May 14.

Zobrist singles, gets to third

Escape artist: The Dodgers' Wood pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the second without allowing a run. The left-hander got all three outs on strikeouts, but they book-ended three straight one-out singles that loaded the bases. Wood wiggled out of it by striking out Hammel looking for the second out and Zobrist swinging to end the inning. Each fanned on a knuckle curve.

"Get out of it," Wood said, when asked about his approach to the situation. "I was fortunate to get out of it. [Zobrist's] arguably their best hitter. It was my first time facing him. He's definitely a tremendous hitter."

Wood, pitching on eight days' rest because of a sore triceps muscle in his pitching arm, also stranded runners at first and second in the third, and mitigated damage in the Cubs' two-run fifth by striking out Addison Russell on a two-seam fastball with a runner on third.

"I thought he really threw the ball well," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I thought he gave us a chance to win and we're just looking to regroup."

Relief: If the Cubs needed another starter, they've maintained that they would dip into the bullpen for one, and Wood showed he can go long. The lefty struck out four over four innings, and combined with Grimm, Strop and Rondon for seven shutout innings. This was the Cubs' first combined one-hitter since Arrieta went seven innings and Wood two on Sept. 27, 2015, against the Pirates.

Wood began last season in the rotation, and then was switched to the bullpen, where he has thrived.

"They call your name, and it's still pitching," Wood said. "Go out there and make your pitches, get the guys out and help your team any way you can."

Wood's final strikeout

Three-base single: The Cubs' two-run rally in the fifth, which led to the only runs of the game, started with a single by Zobrist that wound up with him going all the way to third on a fielding error by Puig. After racing over to field it, Puig didn't get his glove down in time. The ball rolled to the wall and Zobrist scampered to third. Zobrist scored the game's first run on Heyward's infield single.

"[Puig's] done a great job defensively all year," Roberts said. "For someone to even get to the ball as quickly as he did, he did a great job getting there and closing on the baseball. He just misplayed it, and it would've been a single, but ended up a man on third base with nobody out. But Yasiel's played outstanding defense all year for us."

QUOTABLE
"You've got to give credit to Alex Wood, or Travis Wood, or actually both Woods, but Travis Wood … yeah, he threw well." -- Roberts

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cubs retired the final 25 batters in the game, the first time they've done that since May 15, 1960, when Don Cardwell started, got one out, walked the second batter and then retired the next 26.

The last time Cubs relievers completed a game with at least seven innings of no-hit baseball was Sept. 26, 1948, against St. Louis in a 5-2 loss. Relievers Ralph Hamner (7 1/3 innings) and Hank Borowy (one inning) tossed 8 1/3 no-hit innings in relief of Bob Rush. Hamner allowed two unearned runs.

The last time Cubs relievers completed a game with at least seven innings of no-hit and no-run baseball was Aug. 7, 1943, in a 4-1 loss to the Reds. Ed Hanyzewski (6 1/3 innings) and Ray Prim (two innings) tossed 8 1/3 no-hit, no-run relief of Hank Wyse.

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Scott Kazmir will face the Cubs Tuesday for the first time since June 18, 2010, when he beat them in the Angels' 7-6 win at Wrigley Field. Kazmir defeated the Reds in his last start. He allowed just one run in six innings and struck out a season-high 12 on 91 pitches. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.

Cubs: Arrieta will face the Dodgers for the first time since he no-hit them last Aug. 30 at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs have won each of Arrieta's last 23 starts. In his last outing, he gave up a season-high four runs. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Dodgers on Monday.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.