Wood, Cubs get back on track vs. error-prone Bucs

Wood, Cubs get back on track vs. error-prone Bucs

Wood, Cubs get back on track vs. error-prone Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- Whether they were motivated after their dustup with the Nationals or by Brett Jackson's amazing catch, the Cubs bounced back Friday night in a 12-2 win over the mistake-prone Pirates.

Starlin Castro drove in four runs and Alfonso Soriano knocked in three more to back Travis Wood -- who gave up one hit over six innings -- as the Cubs took advantage of seven errors by the Pirates.

The win snapped Chicago's six-game losing streak and was the team's fourth win in 24 games on the road since the All-Star break. It came after the Cubs were swept in four games by the Nationals in an ugly series that ended Thursday with coach Jamie Quirk and two players getting ejected plus some pushing and shoving on the field.

Wood (5-11) felt there was some carryover from the fracas.

"I think so, especially with a young group like we are," the lefty said. "It kind of fired us up and kind of brought us closer together, because we were all out there as one, and we need that with a lot of young guys."

Wood won for the first time since July 6, snapping a streak of 10 starts.

"I was able to pitch where I wanted to, my pitches were working good and we played outstanding defense behind me," Wood said. "It was nice to finally get another win."

The Cubs got a scare in the sixth when Jackson crashed into the mesh fence near the visitors' dugout face-first to catch Andrew McCutchen's fly ball and end the inning. The team may have been eliminated a few days ago, but Jackson hustled as if the playoffs were on the line. He was able to walk off under his own power, and X-rays were negative.

"That's the type of player I am," Jackson said. "I've always been that way -- I'll go through a wall for the team. That was a big moment for Travis and us. We'd lost six in a row and seven runs didn't seem like it was enough at the time. We were going to win that game today.

"I don't really have a second gear," he said. "I'm going to go for those balls, and I'm sure people will try to tell me to take care of my body. Making that play was a little more important at the time."

Jackson had failed to catch Pedro Alvarez's fly ball in the fifth, which was ruled a double, and the only hit off Wood.

"I think he got to the wall and jumped into the wall," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Jackson's miss. "You want to jump, and you're so close to the wall you get a two-inch vertical. He's been fearless since he's been here."

Jackson was mad at himself for not catching Alvarez's ball, and made sure he grabbed McCutchen's, no matter the personal risk.

"The first thing [Jackson] said to me when he got back to the dugout [after catching McCutchen's ball] was, 'I caught that one,'" Wood said.

"I was very impressed," Soriano said of Jackson's catch. "He's very aggressive in the outfield. I'm happy he made that play. That motivates everybody."

Soriano hit an RBI single in the first off A.J. Burnett (15-6), driving in Luis Valbuena, who had walked and advanced on a fielding error by second baseman Brock Holt.

"It just seemed like things snowballed," Burnett said.

The Cubs took advantage of two errors by left fielder Starling Marte to open a 4-0 lead in the third. With two outs, Anthony Rizzo singled and reached third on Soriano's single and a throwing error by Marte. Both then scored on Castro's single. Castro moved up on another miscue by Marte, who had trouble getting his glove on the ball, and scored on Steve Clevenger's single.

Soriano added a two-run single in the seventh for RBIs Nos. 90 and 91, his single-season high since joining the Cubs in 2007. His previous best with the team was 88, set last year.

Chicago batted around in the sixth and seventh, and again padded the lead because of four more Pirates' errors. The seven miscues were the most by the Pirates since Sept. 16, 1985, and one shy of the franchise record set Sept. 17, 1939.

Darwin Barney did not make a mistake to extend his errorless streak to a National League single-season record 123 straight games, matching Ryne Sandberg's overall NL mark, which allows for multiple seasons and ran from June 21, 1989-May 17, 1990. The Major League record single-season errorless streak by a second baseman is 141 games, set by Placido Polanco in 2007 with the Tigers.

"It was nice to come in here against one of the better teams in the National League and put it on them pretty good," Sveum said of the Pirates, who are very much alive in the Wild Card race. "It was good for us after where we were coming from and the mental state, so to speak [after the Nationals series]. It's huge for the guys in the clubhouse to have a game like that."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.