Travis Wood had been having trouble with walks, issuing 8 over his previous 2 starts entering Sunday.
When Wood walked three in the first inning Sunday, it looked like it might be more of the same. But the left-hander didn't issue another free pass the rest of the day, and he was a big reason the Cubs beat the Brewers 4-2 at Wrigley Field.
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Wood evened his record at 4-4 and lowered his ERA from 4.91 to 4.61 as he allowed 2 runs and just 2 hits over 7 innings.
"It was a struggle there in the first," Wood said. "We walked three. We weren't missing bad, but we were missing, so it was kind of a minor little adjustment I had to make. For the most part I was flying open a little bit there in the first after the first or second hitter. So we made it (the adjustment) and were able to roll on after that. It's trying to get back to throwing strikes and pounding the zone."
Look who's back:
Shortstop Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Don't look now, but his batting line is .302/.341/.491 with a team-leading 51 hits.
Castro had 207 hits in 2011 to lead the National League, and with this season just a shade over one-quarter done, he's on pace to push the 200-hits mark again. This comes after a down year in 2013, when he batted .245 with 163 hits.
"Just be ready at home plate," he said. "I'm not thinking too much. I know how I can hit. I don't want to put pressure on myself. I'm just having fun."
Even though the Brewers started right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada, Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz sat in favor of Ryan Kalish. Both Schierholtz and Kalish are left-handed batters, but after a career season last year, Schierholtz is off to a nightmarish start in 2014.
He has no homers and a hitting line of .197/.248/.252. Although Schierholtz did most of his damage last year against right-handed pitchers -- and in the first half of the season -- he is doing worse against righties this year, with a line of .182/.243/.253 compared with a line against lefties of .250/.267/.250. During May, Schierholtz is .159/.283/.227, and at Wrigley Field he's .119/.182/.119.
"Actually, I think his at-bats have been better, to be quite honest," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "We haven't had the results we wanted. I think just continuing to give him a little breath. He understands. He's doing everything he can to get out there and stay in the lineup. The results haven't been what he wanted, but he's actually looked a lot better."