Game One Hundred Two – Cubs 1 Astros 8
WP – Bud Norris (3-7) LP – Randy Wells (5-8) Save – None
For the second game in a row the Cubs pathetic offense managed only one run. One bleepin’ run against Bud Norris and company. The Cubs have scored only two runs in the last nine innings and lost for the eighth time to the Houston Astros this season (4-8).
Randy Wells clearly did not have it early on. While Wells did not allow a run and surrendered only one hit through the first five innings, Wells tied a season-high with four walks before crumbling in the sixth.
The beginning of the end for the Cubs was Wells’ fifth free pass of the game (a new season high, or low). Wells walked Lance Berkman to lead off the sixth ahead of a double by Hunter Pence and the first of two, two-run homers by Carlos Lee.
Wells left with two outs in the sixth after surrendering three runs on five hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The Astros broke out the lumber over the last three innings. Houston scored three in the sixth, two in the seventh and tacked on three more in the eighth. 12 of the Astros’ 13 hits came from the sixth inning on.
While Brad Mills’ offense was hitting the cover off the ball, Lou’s offense could not take advantage of early opportunities. The Cubs scored their only run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez … 0-for-8 with RISP and nine left on base.
Carlos Lee proved he is still a Cubs’ killer Wednesday afternoon. Joey Votto has just about taken Lee’s crown, but Lee almost single handedly beat the Cubs Wednesday afternoon: 2-for-4 with two, two-run home runs, two runs scored and four RBI.
The Cubs mailed another one in this afternoon … and it all began with the manager’s starting lineup.
With the loss, the Cubs fell back to 10 games under .500 at 46-56 on the season. Wednesday’s defeat was also their 30th against the NL Central. The Chicago Cubs are 19-30 versus the division, 27-26 against the rest of baseball … and the biggest problem has been their head-to-head match ups against the Astros and Pirates. The Cubs are 7-17 versus the two teams under them in the standings and 39-39 against the rest of baseball. Lou’s miserable offense set the tone for the afternoon in the first inning. Ryan Theriot (3-for-5 with a run scored) led off the game with a single. Starlin Castro (2-for-4) reached on an error and Tyler Colvin (1-for-2 with two walks) walked to load the bases.
Aramis Ramirez hit a sac fly to right that plated Theriot with the game’s first run. Castro tagged and advanced to third but Xavier Nady struck out swinging. Kosuke Fukudome walked to reload the bases but Jeff Baker struck out swinging to end the inning.
After the first inning, the Cubs allowed Bud Norris to pick up his first win since May 13.
Randy Wells struggled in the first but escaped only to fall apart in the sixth.
Lance Berkman led off the sixth with a walk … Wells’ fifth of the game. Hunter Pence then doubled to left and plated Berkman to tie the game at one. Carlos Lee gave the Astros a 3-1 lead with a homer to left on a 0-1 pitch from Wells.
Wells gave up two more singles before Lou made the slow walk and brought in James Russell.
Russell retired Michael Bourn to end the inning … but the damage was done.
Brian Schlitter took over in the seventh and did not miss any bats. The Astros put the game away on another two-run homer by Carlos Lee. Lance Berkman doubled and trotted home on Lee’s blast to left.
Bobby Howry has said in recent weeks that he is probably going to call it a career after the season … and it is time. Howry surrendered the final three runs on a triple by Jason Bourgeois, a single by Angel Sanchez, a single by Lance Berkman and a single by Hunter Pence. The Astros hammered out three runs on four hits against Howry in just 2/3 of an inning.
It’s a Way of Life!
The Cubs will make their way to Denver on Thursday and open a three-game series Friday night against the Rockies. Carlos Zambrano will re-join the team. Ryan Dempster and Jeff Francis in game one.