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.