Baseball is a cruel game sometimes, especially if you're a Cubs starting pitcher.
Nobody was blaming Travis Wood for making one bad pitch and paying for it in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.
Wood held a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning and got the first two batters of the inning before Ruben Tejada dunked a single in front of right fielder Nate Schierholtz.
Juan Lagares then hit a 2-2 pitch out of the park to left field for his first major-league homer. In the eighth, reliever Kyuji Fujikawa gave up a leadoff homer to Daniel Murphy to make it 4-3.
"Woody obviously pitched another great game," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum, whose team looked ready to win its third series in a row but instead dropped two of three to fall to 18-25. "Obviously, he'd like to have that one pitch back. The last batter he was going to face, and he threw the worst pitch of the game in that situation."
Wood turned in his ninth quality start in nine chances but came away with nothing to show for it. Overall, Cubs starting pitchers have a good ERA of 3.48, but their combined record is 12-19.
"I wish I could have that pitch back," Wood said. "It was a changeup. I was trying to get it down. I just happened to leave it up. He put a good swing on it and hit it out of the park to tie the ballgame."
Wood, who has a 2.24 ERA, was hardly the main culprit. The Cubs were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. That 1 hit came when Wood himself crushed a home run to left field with one out in the fifth. Welington Castillo opened the inning with a double followed by Darwin Barney's strikeout.
The Cubs got nothing in the first inning after David DeJesus led off with a double. Ryan Sweeney led off the fourth with a double but was out trying to stretch it into a triple. Sweeney homered leading off the sixth. Schierholtz doubled, but that was followed by a flyout by Luis Valbuena, a strikeout from Welington Castillo and a soft lineout to left by Barney.
"We left guys on third base, struck out twice with a guy on third base and less than two outs," Sveum said. "So those kinds of things come back to haunt you."
The approaches are lacking at times, too. The Cubs drew only 1 walk against Mets pitching. Starlin Castro, who went hitless in his final 11 at-bats of the series, grounded out in the third by swinging at a pitch low and outside after getting ahead 2-1 in the count.
"That's what we got right now in Castro swinging the bat," Sveum said. "He's going to swing the bat. He's only walked five times or something like that the whole season. So we know what we're going to get."
As a team, the Cubs are batting .219 with runners in scoring position for the season.
"What our biggest problem is going forward is having those at-bats and getting those guys in from third," Sveum said. "We did a nice job getting them over today, and then we couldn't get them in."