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The Strike Zone

Good Wood: Cubs pitcher hits rare grand slam

The wind must be blowing out at Wrigley Field this week. One day after light-hitting Dioner Navarro homered three times in a game, Travis Wood became the first major league pitcher to hit a grand slam in nearly two years, and the first Cubs pitcher to do so at Wrigley in over 40 years. It came in the fourth inning of the Cubs' 8-3 rout of the White Sox that finished off a sweep of the two-ballpark, three-game series and was served up by Jake Peavy.

Here's a GIF of the MLB.com video:

Woodslam

Wood, a 26-year-old southpaw on the mound but a righty in the batter's box, is just the 11th pitcher to hit a grand slam since the beginning of the 2000 season:

Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher 
5/24/00Shawn EstesGiantsExposMike Johnson
9/29/01Denny NeagleRockiesBrewersJimmy Haynes
6/2/02Robert PersonPhilliesExposBruce Chen
7/7/06Dontrelle WillisMarlins@MetsJose Lima
6/23/08Felix HernandezMariners@MetsJohan Santana
9/22/08Jason MarquisCubs@MetsJonathon Niese
10/1/09Chris CarpenterCardinals@RedsKip Wells
5/21/10Brad PennyCardinalsAngelsJoel Pineiro
7/4/11Shaun MarcumBrewersDiamondbacksDaniel Hudson
8/31/11Jake WestbrookCardinals@BrewersRandy Wolf

As you can see in the table, Jason Marquis was the last Cubs pitcher to do so, but in order to find one who accomplished the feat in Wrigley Field, you have to go back to Sept. 16, 1972, when rookie Burt Hooton hit a grand slam off of Mets pitcher and future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

The homer was Wood's second of the season, and the fifth of his career; he had one apiece in the each of the previous three seasons. He's now hitting .292/.320/.583 in 26 plate appearances, so when the DH revolution inevitably comes, perhaps he'll be spared.

Yovani Gallardo is the only other pitcher with two homers this year, while Madison Bumgarner, Mike Leake and Alex White were the only ones to hit two last year. Gallardo was the last pitcher to hit at least three in a season; he had four in 2010. The high-water mark for a single season by a pitcher is nine by the Indians' Wes Ferrell in 1931. The post-World War II high is seven, most recently done by Mike Hampton with the Rockies in 2001. Carlos Zambrano's six for the Cubs in 2006 stands as the team's record for a pitcher.

Wood is having himself a good season on the mound as well as at the plate. Ten of his 11 starts have been quality ones; only in his most recent outing against the Reds did he give up more than three runs or last less than six innings. In 72 innings, he has a 2.75 ERA thanks to a low home run rate (0.6 per nine) and an NL-low .221 batting average on balls in play.

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