Since starting play after the MLB All-Star break a week ago, the SF Giants had seen only one result: loss. A streak of seven games dropped, many in agonizing fashion with late failures, put the team under a .500 record with just days to go before the trade deadline.
All of those games were on the road; a four-game series at NL West-leading Los Angeles followed by three at Arizona.
Maybe it was the familiar feel of the home ballpark, where just before the break they took three of four from NL Central leaders Milwaukee, or Alex Wood deciding to step up and be the stopper, but the Giants finally stopped their streak with a 4-2 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs Thursday night.
Wood was dominant, pitching six innings of no-hit ball before allowing his only hits and runs in the seventh. He was backed up by errorless play on defense and an offense that scraped together a few clutch hits to help bring the team back to one game under .500.
The game began somewhat shaky for the left-handed Wood, who walked the Cubs' leadoff hitter and hit the second batter before a strikeout, caught stealing and fly out ended the inning.
It was the sixth inning before Chicago put another runner on, this time a one-out walk that was left stranded on first.
Alex Wood didn't allow a hit or run until the seventh inning
The visitors put up their first hit of the game to open the seventh, with Ian Happ singling to center. A wild pitch put the runner in scoring position, but Wood induced a pair of groundouts to move within one out of getting out the jam. It wasn't to be, as Patrick Wisdom homered to left-center to end Wood's night.
Luckily for San Francisco, their bats had put up four runs over the third and fourth innings.
In the third, Yermin Mercedes started the scoring with a two-out, two-run single to score Mike Yastrzemski (who had reached on an error earlier in the frame) and Austin Slater. Thairo Estrada then knocked in Wilmer Flores with an infield hit, making it 3-0.
The fourth inning rally was also kick-started with a Cubs miscue, as David Villar was safe at first on a throwing error. A wild pitch moved the rookie to second, and he advanced to third on a groundout before Slater doubled to right to easily knock in the run.
In the final innings, the much-maligned (of late) Giants bullpen held fast with Dominic Leone finishing the seventh for Wood, John Brebbia turning in a perfect eighth and Camilo Doval striking out the side in the ninth to strand a one-out infield hit.
The Giants continue their four-game series with Chicago Friday night, with Alex Cobb opposing Marcus Stroman on the mound.