Chicago Kerry Wood walked off the mound after the first inning of his latest comeback, and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Eight pitches and two strikeouts were all it took to retire the Washington Nationals.
For that brief time in the opening inning, he looked like the ace he once was for the Chicago Cubs.
Then his pitches started drifting over the plate, and the Nationals started knocking them over the fence. Washington hit three homers over the next two innings and went on to a 5-3 victory Thursday.
"You still see the same pop out of his hand, it looks effortless," said Nationals shortstop Damian Jackson, who had a two-run homer in the second that gave Washington a 3-0 lead.
"You know in the back of your mind, the things Kerry Wood is capable of," said Jackson, who played seven games for the Cubs two years ago. "A squirrel finds a nut every once in a while."
Ryan Zimmerman and Alfonso Soriano also homered off Wood (0-1), helping Ramon Ortiz get his first win since September.
Making his first start since July 20 and first appearance since a relief outing Aug. 29 before season-ending shoulder surgery, Wood lasted five innings on a chilly, 53-degree day at Wrigley Field.
Wood gave up five hits, four runs with no walks and six strikeouts during a 71-pitch outing against the Nationals, who had been shut out in the first two games of the series.
Brewers 5, Phillies 4
Milwaukee - Geoff Jenkins' two-run double capped a four-run seventh inning as Milwaukee rallied past Philadelphia and completed a three-game sweep of the Phillies. Jenkins also bailed out the Brewers on Wednesday night with a two-out RBI single in the ninth that gave Milwaukee its third straight victory in its final at-bat.
Cardinals 6, Mets 3
St. Louis - Scott Spiezio started in place of Albert Pujols and had two RBIs, and Jason Marquis pitched into the eighth inning for his second consecutive strong outing to lead St. Louis. Carlos Beltran hit a two-run home run, and Jose Valentin had a solo shot for the Mets, who are in a 3-7 slump and have lost their last three series. Jose Lima (0-3) was knocked out in the fifth.
Braves 9, Marlins 1
Atlanta - Jeff Francoeur hit two more homers, and Jorge Sosa finally earned a win, helping the Braves complete a four-game sweep of the Marlins. Chipper Jones, who hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 11th inning the previous night, picked up three more RBIs. His two-run single in the fifth gave the Braves a 5-1 lead, then Francoeur and Matt Diaz put it out reach by homering on consecutive pitches.
Reds 9, Pirates 8
Pittsburgh - Ken Griffey Jr.'s soft line-drive single drove in two runs during a four-run Cincinnati seventh inning, and the Reds ended a five-game losing streak, rallying from a six-run deficit in the first to beat the Pirates.