Astros 3, Cubs 1

It was a warm day at Wrigley Field with a stiff wind blowing out
to right field and starting pitchers with a combined ERA of nearly
12.

A day for the hitters, right? It didn’t turn out that way.

Brett Myers outdueled Doug Davis and the Houston Astros beat the
Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Wednesday to finish off a three-game sweep.

”I used my head a little bit better,” Myers said. ”I have a
pretty good feel pitching against these guys. I’ve faced them
enough that I know how I want to pitch them. Whether it works or
not, that’s a different story.”

Houston’s Michael Bourn hit a go-ahead two-run single in the
seventh, breaking a tied game.

Myers (2-4) won his sixth straight decision against the Cubs,
improving to 12-3 with a 2.12 ERA in his career against the Astros’
NL Central rivals.

”This is a boost for us,” Myers said. ”We played really good
baseball the whole series.”

Doug Davis (0-4) matched Myers for six innings, but was
responsible for the decisive runs when reliever Sean Marshall gave
up Bourn’s single with two outs in the seventh. Davis allowed nine
hits and struck out five in 6 1-3 innings, his longest outing since
April 24 last season.

”That’s the guy (Davis) I saw beating us in the other dugout
for a lot of years,” Quade said. ”He just confounds the daylights
out of you.”

Davis fell to 3-12 in his career against the Astros.

”They played well all series,” Marshall said. ”They pitched
well. The relievers pitched well. They got some timely hits and we
ended up on the short end of the stick.”

Jason Michaels hit a solo homer and Bourn, Clint Barmes, Carlos
Lee and Jeff Keppinger had two hits apiece for the Astros. Bourn
stole two bases, increasing his NL-leading total to 22.

Pitching for the third straight day, Astros closer Mark Melancon
worked around a lead-off walk in the ninth, saving his fourth game
in six chances this season. Melancon’s outing capped a three
scoreless innings performance by Houston’s bullpen.

Kosuke Fukudome homered to lead off the game for Chicago, but
that was all the offense the Cubs could muster. They had just three
hits on the day.

Keppinger started Houston’s seventh-inning rally with a single,
and Chris Johnson hit a hard grounder down the third-base line.
Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez dove for the ball, which appeared
to take a bad hop and strike him in the mouth area. He remained on
the ground while shortstop Starlin Castro retrieved the ball.

Ramirez was replaced by rookie D.J. LeMahieu and, as part of a
double switch by Cubs manager Mike Quade, Davis was removed for
reliever Kerry Wood.

Wood walked J.R. Towles, loading the bases, but struck out pinch
hitter Angel Sanchez. Quade summoned the lefty Marshall to face
Bourn, who singled to right and gave Houston a 3-1 lead.

”We’ve been playing pretty good baseball lately,” Bourn said.
”Throughout this series, everything has been going our way.”

Ramirez suffered lacerations on the inside of his lip that
required stitches. The club was waiting for him to be examined
before detemining if he would miss any time.

In the fourth, Lee reached on a bloop single when Cubs
left-fielder Blake DeWitt, a career infielder, broke back on the
ball. Davis picked Lee off of first base to eliminate the
threat.

After Fukudome’s leadoff homer, Myers settled down to retire 10
of the next 11 Cubs batters.

Long balls have been a problem for Myers all season, so it was
bad news that the notorious wind was blowing out at Wrigley. Sure
enough, Fukudome greeted him with a leadoff shot into the
right-centerfield bleachers. It was the third homer to lead off a
game.

Myers has allowed 15 homers this season, the most in the major
leagues.

The Astros played a little long ball of their own to even the
game in the second. Michaels went deep off Davis, his first homer
of the season.

”I haven’t faced him in a few years,” Michaels said. ”He’s a
guy that throws a lot of pitches, relies on deception, different
height levels and such. That’s exactly what he was doing to us
today. I was able to get myself into a good count. He missed over
the middle.”

The Astros did plenty of damage in Chicago, taking three
straight from the Cubs at Wrigley for the first time since Sept.
1-3, 2008.

”That was really big,” Michaels said. ”This is a tough place
to play and to come in and get a sweep, that’s big.”

NOTES: The Cubs’ Matt Garza (right elbow) threw a side session
Wednesday, will throw another in St. Louis this weekend and could
rejoin the rotation next week in Cincinnati. … Astros rookie
Jordan Lyles’s first big league start on Tuesday night got a little
worse Wednesday. The run he was charged with was changed to earned
by the official scorer. Lyles allowed two runs in 7-plus innings.
… Mills said OF Jason Bourgeois (strained left oblique) will join
Triple-A Oklahoma City this weekend. … The Astros’ Brandon Lyon
(right rotator cuff) will throw a simulated game Thursday in San
Diego. … Astros reliever Alberto Arias, who hasn’t pitched in a
game since 2009 because of injuries, will have surgery on his right
(throwing) shoulder Friday in Houston. … Houston’s Hunter Pence
extended his hitting streak to 13 games.