Astros break out against Wood


CHICAGO (AP) -- One day after they couldn't score for 16 innings,
the Houston Astros broke through against Kerry Wood, who's been
especially tough on them in the past.

"Yesterday was a big game to lose and coming in today they got
Kerry going, but it just turns out that's how baseball is,''
Houston's Lance Berkman said hitting a homer and driving in three
runs as the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 9-3 Sunday.

"We hit today about as well as we have hit all year,'' Berkman
said. "When Kerry Wood makes a mistake, you've got to hit it. He
can get in a groove.''

Wood, who struck out 20 Astros in his fifth major league start
in 1998, is not pitching poorly these days, but he's not winning,

Wood (4-4) failed for a sixth straight start to get his fifth
win this season and the 50th of his career. He hasn't won since
April 29 and has dropped his last three decisions. He gave up six
hits, five runs and three walks while striking out 11 in six

"It's definitely frustrating. It's probably the first time all
season I had three pitches I was throwing for strikes,'' Wood said.

"I feel good and I feel strong and I feel like I'm throwing it
well. Things are just not going my way.''

Coming off a 1-0 loss in 16 innings Saturday, the Astros broke a
23-inning scoreless drought with four runs in the fourth -- all with
two outs. The first run scored on Berkman's double.

"Basically, they got runners in scoring position, put together
some good at-bats and got the job done,'' Wood said.

His mission gets tougher Saturday when he is scheduled to face
the New York Yankees and fellow Texan Roger Clemens, who failed
Sunday to get his 300th victory at Detroit.

Clemens and Wood share the major league record with 20
strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

Houston's Jeriome Robertson (4-3) won his third straight start,
allowing four hits in six-plus innings as the Astros moved within
one game of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central by winning two
of three at Wrigley Field. The rookie left-hander was removed after
giving up a leadoff double to Sammy Sosa in the seventh.

Eric Karros then hit a two-run homer off reliever Ricky Stone to
pull the Cubs to 5-3. But Berkman and pinch-hitter Morgan Ensberg
hit two-run homers off Mike Remlinger in the eighth, giving the
Astros a 9-3 lead.

Wood retired the first nine batters before walking Orlando
Merced to start the fourth. Two outs later, Jeff Kent singled for
the Astros' first hit and Berkman delivered an RBI double, snapping
Houston's scoreless streak.

"He probably made a few more pitches over the plate than he
wanted to and we were able to get some wood on it,'' Berkman said.

Colin Porter walked to load the bases, Jose Vizcaino had a
run-scoring single off Mark Grudzielanek's glove at second and
Gregg Zaun followed with a two-run single.

Houston loaded the bases again in the fifth and Wood threw a
wild pitch to make it 5-0.

The Cubs got their first run in the sixth when pinch-hitter Tom
Goodwin singled, reached second on Robertson's balk, stole third
and scored on Alex Gonzalez's grounder.

Game notes
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he planned to call Matt
Williams, who was designated for assignment Sunday by the Arizona
Diamondbacks. The Cubs have been shuffling third baseman all year.
Williams played for the Giants when Baker was managing in San
Francisco. ``Right now we don't know exactly what is going to
happen. Matt is one of my favorite guys. It's a matter of how he
can play and how much he has left,'' Baker said. ... Craig Biggio
was given the day off to rest. ... Kent, who was 0-for-7 Saturday
when he hit three long drives that the wind knocked down, had three
hits. ... The temperature was 52, just four degrees warmer than
Saturday, but the wind was a mild 6 mph, compared to 24 a day