Wood boosts Cubs at Busch

Sunday, July 28, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Simontacchi got flustered after the umpires issued a warning about pitching inside.

Kerry Wood barely noticed.

Wood allowed one unearned run in six innings and Moises Alou had three RBIs as the Chicago Cubs snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

Both sides were warned by home plate umpire Dan Iassgona about inside pitching in the top of the third after Simontacchi (7-2) hit Mark Bellhorn with a pitch.

"I was in the runway trying to stay cool and I didn't know anything was going on," Wood said.

Umpire Gerry Davis warned Wood (9-5) as he took the mound in the bottom of the third.

"He said he didn't want to take my game away from me, but that the league office had told them to watch out for this kind of stuff," Wood said. "I didn't let it bother me, I just pitched my normal game."

Simontacchi admitted that the warning bothered him and it showed. He allowed four runs in the third inning -- including three after the warning.

"Of course it did, it's kind of like if I hit the next guy I'm out of here," Simontacchi said. "It's a little disturbing, but what are you going to do. I've still got to pitch my game and I didn't. I got beat."

The Cardinals were trailing 2-0 in the third when Simontacchi hit Bellhorn. Bill Mueller singled and Sammy Sosa walked to load the bases.

Angel Echevarria walked to drive in a run and Alou singled to drive in two more and make the score 5-0.

The Cardinals and Cubs exchanged harsh words in May when Matt Morris said he might throw at Cubs batters because the Cardinals thought their signs were being stolen.

The teams played a series in June without any controversy, but the umpires were told by the league office to be prepared for this series.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who was ejected along with reliever Mike Timlin when Bellhorn was hit for the second time, blamed the league, not the umpires.

"Because they get a thing from the league and they're compelled to take action and it's ridiculous, and it made the rest of the game ridiculous," La Russa said.

Wood allowed four hits, one walk and struck out three before leaving after 87 pitches in the 95-degree heat.

"I was ready to come out, it was plenty hot," Wood said.

The Cubs won for just the third time in their past 19 games at Busch Stadium and improved to 9-9 under new manager Bruce Kimm.

The Cardinals trailed 7-0 after five innings but rallied and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning. But Antonio Alfonseca struck out Eli Marrero with the bases loaded to end the game.

The Cubs scored their first run in the second after a throwing error by third baseman Albert Pujols. Echevarria reached second on Pujols' error and scored on Alou's single.

Todd Hundley homered to start the four-run third and Echevarria added a two-run single in the fifth to make it 7-0.

The Cardinals scored an unearned run in the seventh after an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Tino Martinez drove in the run with a groundout.

Marrero walked with the bases loaded in the eighth and Kerry Robinson had an RBI groundout in the ninth for the Cardinals.

Simontacchi allowed a season-high seven runs, five hits and three walks in four innings. He is winless in his last four starts.

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