Travis Wood flirted with perfection just three starts into his major-league career, throwing nine spectacular innings of one-hit shutout ball against the Phillies on July 10, 2010.
It was that potential the Cubs hope they could harness when they acquired the 25-year-old lefty from Cincinnati in the offseason as part of the return for Sean Marshall.
Over the last month, Wood has shown flashes of that potential, although his start Sunday was perhaps his best yet in a Cubs uniform. Wood didn't issue a walk and only allowed three hits with four strikeouts in 7 23 innings of shutout ball, lowering his ERA to 3.15 on the season. Since the start of June, Wood has allowed eight runs with 28 strikeouts, 12 walks in 39 13 innings pitched, and he's only allowed one home run in that span, too.
Wood's success wasn't limited to the mound Sunday, though. He led off the sixth with a sharp double down the third base line and advanced to third on a heads-up baserunning play.
On Saturday, Houston intentionally walked Starlin Castro to set up a first-and-third situation, trying to induce a double play and take the bat out of Castro's hands. The strategy was successful, as Anthony Rizzo struck out, and the Cubs failed to score in the inning.
Houston did the same thing Sunday, walking Castro with Wood on third to get to Rizzo. But on the first pitch, Rizzo ripped a single through the right side, scoring Wood and netting him his third game-winning RBI in five games with the Cubs
Jeff Baker added a two-run double to put the Cubs up 3-0, which was plenty of support for Wood, who threw a season-high 104 pitches.
Carlos Marmol recorded a save for the third straight day and now has eight in 2012. The win gave the Cubs their second sweep of the season, with the last coming May 28-30 against San Diego.