CHICAGO -- Five Chicago Cubs pitchers combined for a one-hit, 2-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday afternoon as their bullpen, led by Travis Wood's four perfect innings, retired the final 21 batters after starter Jason Hammel left the game with cramping in his right leg.
Overall, the Cubs retired the final 25 batters of the game for the first time since 1960, when Don Cardwell gave up a hit and then retired 26 in a row, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"[Wood] was so pitch efficient he allowed us to do what we did," manager Joe Maddon said after the game. "He was spectacular. I believe what he did set it up for the rest of the bullpen. The rest of the guys really were kind of efficient after seeing Travis go out and do it. They were all really efficient, but Travis set the tone for the whole day."
Wood threw 43 pitches -- 35 for strikes -- having come in cold in the third inning after Hammel went down to the ground during his warm-up pitches. In fact, Wood was on the couch in the clubhouse when he saw Hammel was in trouble.
"I ran out and I heard [Trevor] Cahill, so I ran back in to get Cahill, then I thought they might change their mind, so I ran back out and they ended up changing their mind," Wood said with a smile. "They call your name, it's still pitching. Go out and make your pitches, get the guys out and help your team in any way you can."
From Maddon's perspective, the Dodgers had a heavy dose of left-handed hitters in the lineup to face the righty Hammel, so he countered with the lefty Wood.
"I went out to the mound and I looked at the dugout and I pointed at him and I said, 'Let's go,'" Maddon recalled. "And that's how his day began."
Wood said he wasn't completely loose even after being allowed unlimited warm-up pitches, as he didn't want to "make the game wait" for him, but added that once he got going, he felt great. It carried over to the final three relievers, as Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon each threw a perfect inning after Wood. Only Hammel gave up a hit on the day, a bloop in the first inning that fell between several fielders in short right-center. The ball should have been caught.
"I blew the no-hitter," Hammel joked. "Makes me feel real small."
It was the fewest hits for the Dodgers since the Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hit them Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Hammel was in a decent mood considering he left the game, and he and the Cubs believe his cramping was a one-time thing. He said he has no history of leg cramps and was as perplexed as anyone as to why it happened after throwing two scoreless innings.
"I felt like I drank the equivalent of Lake Michigan [Sunday] night," said Hammel, whose ERA dropped to 2.09 before he left Monday's game. "Once it gets hot and humid here, I always hydrate really well. I don't understand why I cramped but we'll figure it out."
Maddon reaffirmed that "it seems to have just been a cramp," saying, "We just couldn't wait for it to settle down. You just don't know in that particular moment if it is a cramp.
"We thought it was a cramp, but you just can't stand out there for 15 minutes and wait for it to dissolve or whatever. So we had to move it along at that point."
The club thinks Hammel will be able to make his next start.
However, considering the Cubs are 21 games over .500, they probably won't take any chances, as last season Hammel injured his calf just before the All-Star break and was never the same. After Wood's performance in helping his team to its sixth straight win, the Cubs believe they have plenty of depth. Maddon said Wood or even Cahill could start a game if needed, but Monday's win was all about the Cubs lefty.
"We were expecting him to give us one or two [innings], and he gives us four," Hammel said of Wood. "And everyone else was spot-on. We couldn't have asked for more.
"Huge team effort today."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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