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Cubs' Wood wins first start in two months

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kerry Wood came off the disabled and list kept
the Chicago Cubs' six-game trip from being a total loss.

Wood won in his first start in two months and Sammy Sosa homered and drove in five runs, helping the Cubs beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 8-4 Sunday night to enter the All-Star break on a positive note.

"That was the biggest getaway victory we've had," manager
Dusty Baker said. "Woody was outstanding."

The Cubs salvaged the final game of a six-game trip after they
managed a total of five runs in the first five games, and kept the
National League's best team from completing a perfect homestand.

Wood said he didn't feel the pressure of the Cubs' slump or the
Cardinals' streak.

"It was just a day to go out and get some work in and do the
best I could," Wood said. "I wasn't worried about anything else
that happened in the last five or six days.

"I guess that helped more than anything, not even thinking
about it or worrying about it."

The Cardinals, who lead the Cubs in the NL Central by seven
games, outscored their opponents 45-13 in the first eight games
before Chris Carpenter got rocked in the final game before the
All-Star break.

"I was one pitch away from getting out of the whole situation
and I just couldn't make that pitch," Carpenter said. "I got the
ball up and they were on it all night."

Wood (4-3), sidelined since May 11 with triceps tendinitis, gave
up one run and three hits in five innings with five strikeouts and
two walks. He threw 80 pitches in his first victory since beating
the Mets with seven shutout innings on April 24.

Not only that, he gave the Cubs a mental lift.

"He was such a huge part of last year," Cubs catcher Michael
Barrett said. "I wasn't there but I can sort of sense what he
means to this team.

"It's nice to have him back and it kind of rubbed off on
everybody."

Jim Edmonds homered in his fifth straight game for the
Cardinals, hitting his 21st of the season in the fourth inning off
Wood. St. Louis' 10-game winning streak at home came to an end in
front of 49,250 -- the third straight sellout of the series.

The Cardinals scored three runs against LaTroy Hawkins in the
ninth, on Albert Pujols' RBI single and sacrifice flies by Mike
Matheny and Tony Womack.

Barrett also homered and drove in two runs for the Cubs, who
avoided getting swept in consecutive road series and won for only
the ninth time in 40 games at Busch Stadium over the last five
seasons.

Carpenter (9-4) struck out the first five batters on only 25
pitches, and retired the first two hitters in the third. He came
unglued after right fielder Reggie Sanders twice mishandled the
ball on Jose Macias' two-out single, allowing Macias to go to
third.

"It was so exciting at the beginning with both guys just really
nasty," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He had two outs,
nobody on, and the next thing you look up there and there's four on
the board."

Starting with Macias, 10 of the last 13 batters Carpenter faced
reached safely. Sosa's three-run shot was the big hit of a four-run
third, and he chased Carpenter with a two-run single in the fourth
that made it 6-0.

Entering the game, Carpenter was 3-0 against the Cubs with a
2.42 ERA. After giving up six runs in 3 2-3 innings -- his shortest
outing of the season -- he left with a 4.15 ERA against Chicago.

Sosa's homer was the first off Carpenter in 33 innings over five
games.

Sosa had 10 RBI in his first 20 games since returning from the
disabled list because of a sprained ligament in his lower back. But
he also homered on Saturday and hit his 16th of the season to
straightaway center in the third.

Edmonds homered into the Cardinals' bullpen in right and
reliever Julian Tavarez caught the ball with his cap. Barrett
restored the six-run cushion in the fifth when he hit his 10th
homer off Cal Eldred, working for the first time in nine days.

Game notes
All nine of the Cubs' starters had a hit by the fifth
inning. ... The Cubs scored more than two runs for the first time
since they beat the White Sox 4-2 on July 3. ... The Cubs haven't
lost six in a row since dropping nine straight from May 8-18, 2002.
... The Cardinals' 10-game winning streak at home was their longest
since 1986 when they won 11 straight. ... Edmonds tied the team
record for homering in consecutive games in a season held by Rip
Collins (1935) and Jim Bottomley (1929). Mark McGwire homered in
six straight games over two seasons, the final two of the 1997 and
the first four of 1998. ... In six games before going on the DL,
Wood was 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA.