Originally created 07/22/98

Woods, Cubs outdo Maddux to get victory



ATLANTA -- If this was the passing of the torch from the old guard to the new, perhaps Kerry Wood should pause and savor the moment.

Chances are he and Greg Maddux will be facing each other again, perhaps as soon as October, and the old dog surely has a trick or two left up his sleeve.

But in Round 3 of the Wood Traveling Strikeout Show, the 21-year-old outdueled the master Tuesday night and delivered a powerful message to the Atlanta Braves.

Wood overcame some early control problems and worked into the eighth inning as the Chicago Cubs completed their first two-game sweep in Atlanta in 10 years, downing the Braves 3-0 before a sellout crowd of 47,933 fans at Turner Field.

"I think (Wood) has a chance to be the next Nolan Ryan, but with more wins," said Maddux, who entered with a perfect 7-0 mark against his former club. "He can tell you what's coming and he's still going to be tough to hit."

The Cubs, who swept a three-game series from the Braves at Wrigley Field in May, completed their first winning season against Atlanta since 1989 with a 6-3 record.

Wood's dominance aside, the primary focus afterward was on center fielder Andruw Jones, who loafed after Lance Johnson's fly in the eighth and allowed it to fall for a hit. Fed up with his lack of effort, manager Bobby Cox delivered a stern and embarrassing message by immediately sending Gerald Williams out to replace him.

Cox was waiting for Jones in the dugout and the pair disappeared into the tunnel. When asked later what he said to Jones, Cox replied, "A lot."

With the television lights shining in his office later, Cox couldn't restrain his frustration with the 21-year-old Jones.

"Anybody who doesn't respect the game enough to give 100 percent on every play needs somebody to talk to him," Cox said. "Unfortunately I've talked to him a lot. He's got to grow up, it's as simple as that. No one is bigger than the game. I didn't act that way when I was 21 and neither did Willie Mays or Hank Aaron."

Cox indicated he would fine Jones, though fining him for various infractions in the past hasn't improved his attitude.

"He's about to go broke I've taken so much from him," Cox said. "It's a joke. I doubt he's going to make any money the rest of this season."

In explaining the play, Jones said he lost his concentration and indicated he had not talked with Cox yet.

"I think he thought I wasn't playing hard," Jones said. "I need to talk with him if he thinks I don't respect the game. He thought I should have caught the ball and I think I should have caught the ball too."

Jones' costly misadventure didn't take away from Wood's performance. In taking his ninth win and first against Atlanta, the right-hander struck out 11 in 7 23 innings, boosting his three-start total against the Braves to 30 strikeouts in 20 23 innings.

Maddux was good, but Wood was better. Despite some lapses in his control, the youngster worked out of some early jams, a feat that Maddux, faced with runners in scoring position, couldn't duplicate.

"It was one of those days when I didn't have good stuff early on and I got away with stuff," Wood said. "Later on my stuff came around."

Maddux, tied for the major league lead with an average of 1.1 walks per nine innings, committed a cardinal sin by issuing a leadoff walk to the No. 8 hitter, Scott Servais, in the third. Wood advanced Servais with a bunt and he scored on Mickey Morandini's two-out single up the middle.

More trouble arrived in the fourth. Henry Rodriguez, a career .188 hitter against Maddux, led with a single and ex-Brave Tyler Houston followed with a double into the left field corner. Jose Hernandez's grounder made it 2-0, then Jeff Blauser's suicide-squeeze bunt brought Houston across the plate.

The three runs was as many as Maddux (13-4) had allowed in his last two starts and was just the fourth time in 22 starts this season he had yielded more than two earned runs.

"There were about five pitches I want back," Maddux said. "That's a lot less than usual."

The Braves did everything in their power to keep Wood's shutout intact. Andres Galarraga ended the first inning with a double-play grounder, Jones foolishly ran through third base coach Bobby Dews' stop sign and was easily out at the plate in the third and Jones watched a third strike go past with the bases loaded in the fourth.

Following his escape in the fourth inning, Wood (9-5) started challenging hitters more with his fastball and it paid dividends. He didn't allow another baserunner until pinch hitter Curtis Pride reached on an infield hit with two outs in the seventh.

Wood departed with two outs in the eighth and Terry Mulholland and Rod Beck got the final four outs, Beck pitching the ninth for his 27th save.

Later, reflecting on Wood's performance and the Braves' collective 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, third baseman Chipper Jones said, "The word for this game was overmatched. He overmatched almost everybody in at least one at-bat. The guy is tough. I'm not looking forward to facing him the rest of my career."