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Cubs Look To Salvage Final Game Of Homestand Vs. Reds

(Sports Network) - Lefty Travis Wood can continue a strong rookie season and possibly pad the Cincinnati lead atop the NL Central when the Reds visit Wrigley Field for the finale of a three-game weekend set with the skidding Chicago Cubs.

On Saturday, Drew Stubbs hit the tie-breaking home run in a two-run eighth inning that carried Cincinnati past Chicago, 4-3.

Stubbs launched Randy Wells' second pitch of the inning over the wall in left- center field to give the Reds a 2-1 lead. He finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs knocked in and Ramon Hernandez added two hits and an RBI for the Reds, who have won the first two games of the series and six of seven.

Logan Ondrusek (3-0) worked a scoreless 1 1/3 innings to earn the win and Nick Masset worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the ninth to record his second save for Cincinnati, which is 6-0-1 in its seven series since the All-Star break.

Wells (5-10) was charged with three runs on five hits over seven-plus innings and was saddled with the loss for the Cubs, who have dropped nine of 10.

Coupled with a St. Louis loss to Florida, the Reds' win upped their lead in the National League's Central Division to 1 1/2 games. Cincinnati hosts the Cardinals for three games at Great American Ball Park beginning Monday.

Wood, a 23-year-old from Little Rock, Ark., was a second-round pick of the Reds in the 2005 draft and among the final contenders for the team's fifth starting slot that was eventually won by Mike Leake at the end of spring training.

Injuries to starters Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey have created an opening for Wood, who's responded by allowing only 28 hits while striking out 37 batters over 44 2/3 innings through seven starts.

He was winless in the initial five outings but has since won two in a row, including a 4-0 defeat of Pittsburgh on Aug. 2 in which he allowed only two hits and struck out four in seven innings.

He's allowed two runs or fewer in five starts and is 2-0 with a 2.56 earned run average in six starts on the road.

Wood limited the Cubs to two hits and two runs in seven innings in the Reds' eventual 3-2 in his major-league debut on July 1.

For Chicago, right-hander Thomas Diamond makes the second start of his big- league career.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder took a loss in his debut five days ago against Milwaukee, allowing seven hits and three runs across six innings, while striking out 10 batters in a 4-3 loss.

The Louisiana native and product of the University of New Orleans was a first- round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2004, the 10th overall selection.

He was elevated from Triple-A Iowa to the major-league rotation after the trade of lefty starter Ted Lilly to the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the second Cub to strike out double digits in a big-league debut since 1920.