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Bigger they come, harder Wood makes them fall

LOS ANGELES – Travis Wood may not have the big arm that Jeff Samardzija does. Or the big paycheck that Edwin Jackson does.

But the Cubs’ lone All-Star this year showed again Tuesday night that the bigger the guy is on the other side of the pitching matchup, the bigger Wood’s game gets.

Wood outpitched the top-ranked pitcher in the game at Dodger Stadium to beat Clayton Kershaw 3-2 – allowing no earned runs against the Dodgers’ formidable lineup over seven innigs.

He even singled against Kershaw leading off the third and scored the first run of the game.

“That was as good a stuff as he’s had in a long time,” manager Dale Sveum said, who snapped a personal three-game losing streak to win for the first time since July 28.

“I don’t think anybody’s going to sit here and say they want to face the best pitcher in baseball. It is a challenge, and the good thing about it is we had one of our best going against him, so we knew it was going to be a close ballgame if Woody pitched good, and sure enough it was.”

It certainly wasn’t the first time for Wood (8-10, 3.09), who earned his 21st quality start this season – just two off Kershaw’s major-league lead.

Kershaw, who had won three straight games and took a 16-inning scoreless streak into the night, couldn’t get through the sixth inning Tuesday as the Cubs became just the second team to beat him since the All-Star break.

“I love the matchup,” Wood said. “I love going up against guys like that.”

No kidding.

Kershaw was the 10th All-Star pitcher Wood has faced this year (four 2013 All-Stars) – and third Cy Young winner.

He’s 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA against the All-Stars, and the Cubs are 6-4 in those games, despite being shut out by Francisco Liriano in one of them and getting shut out for 8 2/3 innings by Stephen Strasburg in another.

He’s 3-0 with only one earned run allowed in 20 innings (0.45) against the Cy Young winners (also Tim Lincecum and Jake Peavy).

“[Kershaw’s] pretty much the best pitcher in the game right now,” Wood said. “I mean, he had an off night tonight, and on his off night he held us to two runs.

“You have to go out every fifth day and give your team a chance, but especially [against] a guy like him you know you have to bring it because he’s bringing it.

“[This win] stands out for sure. Especially as strong as that lineup is and the guy I was going up against.”