Cubs fall to White Sox in Wood's final game

Cubs fall to White Sox in Wood's final game

Cubs fall to White Sox in Wood's final game
CHICAGO -- The White Sox spoiled Kerry Wood's goodbye party on Friday.

Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer and Gordon Beckham belted a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth to lift the White Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs in the first game of the intracity Interleague series and the last game of Wood's career.

Wood, 34, told Cubs manager Dale Sveum on Thursday that he wanted to make one more appearance and then retire. He spent batting practice with his son, Justin, took the lineup card out for the game and took over for starter Jeff Samardzija with one out and one on in the eighth. It was a perfect ending as Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches, starting with a 96-mph fastball and ending with a 78-mph curveball.

"He's been through a lot of adversity in his career," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It was a great way to go out in that situation, and to do it on a curveball was awesome."

As Wood left the field, he was greeted at the top of the dugout steps by his son. Wood tipped his cap to the fans, hugged his teammates in the dugout and made one more curtain call. He was able to exit with one more "K."

"I love Kerry Wood," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "I wish he wouldn't have had the injuries he had, because he would have been one of the best ever. ... He had a great run, and it's sad to see the way it ended, but I feel bad for Viciedo that he struck out."

Konerko, on the other hand, didn't stay to see the end after being hit in the face by a pitch from Samardzija (4-2). Neither did Sveum, who was ejected in the fifth.

It was just another wild and crazy Cubs-White Sox game.

Samardzija, who made no secret he was excited to pitch in the Crosstown Showdown, struck out eight over 7 1/3 innings and helped himself by hitting a game-tying RBI single in the seventh.

But he also served up Konerko's two-run homer in the first, his eighth of the season and 19th against the Cubs. David DeJesus doubled to lead off the Cubs' first, the third straight game he's done so, and eventually scored on Starlin Castro's sacrifice fly.

The White Sox fans in the crowd of 34,937 were riled in the third when Konerko was hit on the left side of his face by an errant splitter from Samardzija on a 2-2 pitch. Konerko had to leave with a laceration above his left eye.

"That ball got away, and unfortunately, it hit him up high," Samardzija said. "If I could take it back, I would. The only thing that's making me OK about it is that he's a tough guy."

Samardzija led off the third and had an exchange with Pierzynski before his at-bat.

"A.J. is one of their leaders, and I know Paulie is, too, and I was just tipping the hat," Samardzija said.

Samardzija didn't get rattled, and he retired the next eight batters.

"It was very impressive to see him calm down after obviously a bad incident with Paul," Sveum said. "It was a split-finger that got away, and unfortunately, it got him above the eye. A lot of times the adrenaline and heart rate gets so high, it's hard to settle down, but he was able to come back and pitch a heck of a game. That was nice."

The White Sox did retaliate in the fourth, when Philip Humber's first pitch sailed behind Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair. Both benches were warned.

Sveum had a run-in himself with third-base umpire Marty Foster, arguing that Beckham knocked DeJesus off second base in the fifth with his tumbling tag. Foster didn't agree, and Sveum was ejected for the second time this season.

"As far as I know, you can't shove people off the base, otherwise, everybody would be doing it all the time," Sveum said.

Ian Stewart singled to open the Cubs' seventh and reached third one out later on Darwin Barney's double to chase Humber. Samardzija greeted Matt Thornton with an RBI single to tie the game, his first hit and RBIs in 15 at-bats this season. Why leave Samardzija in?

"It was his game," Sveum said. "He'd battled and done everything. There's still one more out left to get a hit, but that was his game, and the emotions of that game and everything, the way the bullpen was, that was his game. The at-bat would've been left up to DeJesus to get the hit if he didn't. It worked out that he did get a hit."

So did Beckham when he connected with one out in the eighth on a 2-2 splitter from Samardzija, lifting the ball into the front row of the left-field bleachers.

But the Cubs didn't just lose a game, they lost the player who has been the heart and soul of the team.

"It's a tough day, man," Samardzija said. "It's not a good day when Kerry Wood retires. Hopefully, we'll remember all the great things he did for the city, and hopefully, he decides to stick around a little bit and bug us."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.