NEW YORK – Travis Wood figures he was just a couple of walks from his first win in two months.
Wood gave up only four hits, but two of his four walks Friday night came ahead of Eric Campbell's three-run homer in the fourth inning that sent the New York Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Cubs.
"Walks killed me," Wood said. "If you take out half the walks, it would be a pretty solid game."
Wood (7-10) lasted 5 1/3 innings in his 11th straight start without a win. He struck out five in dropping to 0-5 since he beat Philadelphia on June 15.
The Cubs didn't give Wood much help, striking out 14 more times – 10 against starter Zack Wheeler. Coming in they had struck out 77 times in the previous seven games.
"We have been facing some pretty good pitching. This guy today was pretty good, too," manager Rick Renteria said. "When you face arms like that, it happens. I thought we had a lot of really strong at-bats in terms of driving his pitch count up."
Junior Lake, who leads the team with 102 strikeouts, is being sent down to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday to make room for pitcher Dan Straily, who will make his debut with the Cubs. Straily was obtained in the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland on July 5.
Renteria said Straily is being called up from Iowa to give the rest of the rotation an extra days' rest. The team is in a stretch of having a game on 20 straight days.
Lake has started only two games since June 2 and Renteria hopes the demotion will re-invigorate the 24-year-old outfielder, who was in the Cubs' Opening Day lineup but has slumped to a .216 average with nine homers and 25 RBIs.
"It's been tough," Renteria said. "We tried to do everything we could throughout the course of the season, especially early, to put him in a decent place. But obviously it's very difficult for a young man. ... I think he'll catch a breath of fresh air, go down there, play, get some at-bats, have some fun again and we'll see him here soon."
Wheeler (8-8) threw a career-high 120 pitches in 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits. He walked four and hit a batter but overpowered the Cubs in winning his fifth consecutive decision.
"When he gets you in certain situations, those guys, they don't know what's coming," said Mets manager Terry Collins, complimenting Wheeler's assortment of pitches. "They just can't sit on one pitch."
Pitching with a hernia, Jenrry Mejia fanned one in a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
The Mets beat the Cubs for the first time in four meetings this season. Chicago swept three games at Wrigley Field in June.
The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the third — the one inning Wheeler did not record a K — behind Anthony Rizzo's run-scoring groundout and Starlin Castro's RBI single. Castro had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Cubs: Luis Valbuena is being held out of the starting lineup Friday and Saturday. Renteria thinks the scuffling infielder needs a break. Valbuena also has a cold. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter to end the game to fall to 1 for 30.
Mets: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow inflammation) will make a rehabilitation start for Double-A Binghamton on Saturday. Collins said he's not sure where Matsuzaka will fit when he returns.
Straily (0-0) will face Jonathon Niese (6-8) on Saturday. The left-handed Niese is 2-4 with a 5.26 ERA against the Cubs.
WINDY CITY WISH
Some Mets fans recently have called for their beleaguered team to make a deal with the shortstop-rich Cubs for Castro. If Castro, who is signed with Chicago through 2019, has his say, he'll stay right where he is. "I know a lot of teams could have me and want me, but I'm here and I don't want to leave here," Castro said.
THAT DIDN'T WORK
When Juan Lagares hit a one-out fly to right field in the sixth, Campbell took off running. Collins said he was given a steal sign, but Campbell was at third base before he turned back. Ryan Sweeney made an easy throw into the infield for a double play. Rizzo, the first baseman, dropped the ball and catcher Welington Castillo had to pick it up and step on the base for a rare 9-3-2 double play.