MILWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) Whether at the plate or on the mound, Travis Wood delivered whenever the bases were loaded.
He snuffed out a Milwaukee Brewers rally with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 12th inning. An inning later, Wood forced in the go-ahead run at the plate for the Chicago Cubs after drawing a two-out walk in a 2-1 win on Wednesday night.
After Carlos Torres missed high on a 3-1 cutter, Wood tossed the padding wrapped around his left elbow aside and jogged to first. Raucous Cubs fans who made the 90-minute drive north from Chicago made Miller Park feel like Wrigley Field.
An inspirational one-liner from manager Joe Maddon on the mound in the 12th apparently made an impression on Wood.
"When he came in the game, I said, 'Understand one thing: If you get out of this, you're getting an at-bat.' So, that kind of jacked him up," Maddon said. "That's just how we operate."
Maddon really didn't have a choice in the top of the 13th since he was out of position players.
With a base open, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell elected to have Torres (0-1) intentionally walk Miguel Montero to load the bases for Wood.
"I'm sitting there thinking 'Am I going to let Miguel Montero beat me or am I going to let the pitcher beat me?' I think you have to make the pitcher beat you," Counsell said.
It's exactly what happened for Wood, a career .181 hitter with nine homers.
"He tells us he wants to get a walk-off home run. I guess that was kind of close to it," teammate Kris Bryant said.
But the Cubs had more nervous moments in the bottom of the 13th after Wood (2-0) allowed a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar. The Brewers later put runners on the corners with one out.
The Cubs' last eligible player, left-hander Clayton Richard came on in relief to get the last out, retiring lefty-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a groundout for his first career save.
An inning earlier, Wood worked out of the bases-loaded, nobody out situation by drawing a short flyout and two popouts.
Offense was otherwise a trouble spot again for the Cubs, a night after getting no-hit for seven-plus innings by right-hander Chase Anderson. On Wednesday, Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson frustrated Chicago's formidable lineup, allowing five hits, walking four and striking out five in seven-plus shutout innings.
Maddon's team was finally able to scratch its way for runs against the Brewers bullpen.
The Cubs tied the game at 1 with one out in the ninth on Addison Russell's RBI grounder off closer Jeremy Jeffress, but otherwise left the tying or go-ahead run in scoring position from the eighth through 11th innings.
"Our at-bats have been really good. We've hit the ball well. I know people may not agree with that, and that's OK. But I'm telling you, I really thought we had a lot of good at-bats," Maddon said.
Milwaukee's only run scored on Alex Presley's fielder's choice in the fifth. Starter John Lackey was otherwise effective and gave up four hits over six innings.
Besides the empty 12th, the Brewers had a couple misadventures while running the bases that wasted more scoring opportunities. Jonathan Lucroy was thrown out after being caught leaning too far off second in the third; Presley got tagged out in a rundown following a similar blooper in the fourth.
"We made some mistakes on the bases but we still, after that, had chances of execution at-bats to win the game," Counsell said.
Cubs: OF Matt Szczur (right hamstring), who was eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, will go on a rehab assignment at Double-A Tennessee. "There's no specific timetable right now, just go play," manager Joe Maddon said.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun was scratched because of back stiffness. Braun had back surgery in the offseason, and Counsell has said the 32-year-old slugger might need periodic days off for rest. Counsell said that Braun's right wrist, which kept him out of a couple games over the weekend, was fine.