9 - 5 Final
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Cubs hold off Astros, Zambrano extends win streak

Apr 14, 2011 - 5:46 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Carlos Zambrano pitched into the sixth inning to extend his winning streak to a career-best 10 decisions and also homered, as the Chicago Cubs held off the Houston Astros, 9-5, in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Zambrano (2-0), who allowed seven hits and five runs over 5 2/3 innings, hasn't lost since last June 25 on the road against the White Sox. The right- hander's 15 victories against the Astros are the most among active hurlers.

Alfonso Soriano set the tone with a three-run homer in the first, part of a five-run opening inning against Wandy Rodriguez. Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez each had three hits and a run scored, while Jeff Baker went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in the first frame.

Rodriguez (0-2) was touched for nine hits and five runs over five innings.

A two-run homer by Matt Downs capped a five-run sixth, getting Houston within 6-5, but the Cubs scored three times in the ninth.

Zambrano's solo blast to left-center off Fernando Abad with one out in the sixth extended Chicago's lead to 6-0, but the Astros nearly came all the way back in the bottom half.

"It's not the first time I hit a home run," Zambrano said. "It's number 22 for me. I've been excited 22 times. I just went out there trying to do my job, like always."

Carlos Lee and Brett Wallace singled in runs, and then Bill Hall popped up a ball that dropped down the right field line. Wallace, though, never ran to second and was out on a force play, but Lee scored, making it 6-3. Downs then delivered his crushing hit to left-center field.

Marcos Mateo finished the sixth on the mound for the Cubs and Sean Marshall retired the side in order in the seventh. Kerry Wood did the same in the eighth before the Cubs padded their lead in the ninth.

Darwin Barney doubled in Castro. Barney then scored when Wilton Lopez threw the ball away at first on a bouncer from Marlon Byrd. Ramirez capped the uprising with an RBI single.

Carlos Marmol finished the game on the mound for the Cubs.

Baker's double put the Cubs on the board, and after Geovany Soto walked Soriano unloaded with a blast to left field.

There was also some great defense from the Cubs. Wallace tried to score on a Downs double in the second, but was cut down at the plate on a relay throw from Castro.

"We're not playing bad at all," Hall said. "We're just that one hit away. If we keep grind, we're going to strike it."

Game Notes

Rodriguez (1,001 innings) became just the second lefty in Astros history to reach 1,000 innings pitched. Bob Knepper is the other with 1,738 innings thrown...Rodriguez had gone the last 10 starts against the Cubs without being handed a loss...The Cubs boast a .480 (24-for-50) batting average out of the leadoff spot, the best in the majors in the early going this season.

  • CHICAGO: 9
    HOUSTON: 5

    Apr 13 11:02 PM

  • Aneury Rodriguez enters the game for the Astros with a runner on first with one out.

    Cubs 9, Astros 5  Top 9, 1 OutApr 13 10:48 PM

  • Marlon Byrd reached third on Wilton Lopez's throwing error, scoring Darwin Barney with one out. Runner on third and Aramis Ramirez due up.

    Cubs 8, Astros 5  Top 9, 1 OutApr 13 10:45 PM

  • Darwin Barney double to center scored Starlin Castro with one out. Runner on second and Marlon Byrd due up.

    Cubs 7, Astros 5  Top 9, 1 OutApr 13 10:42 PM
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    Cubs 6, Astros 5  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 13 10:00 PM

  • Matt Downs two-out, two-run Home Run (1) to left center scored Bill Hall. J.R. Towles due up.

    Cubs 6, Astros 5  Bot 6, 2 OutsApr 13 9:54 PM

  • Bill Hall popped into a fielder's choice, scoring Carlos Lee with two outs. Brett Wallace out at second, second to short. Runner on first and Matt Downs due up.

    Cubs 6, Astros 3  Bot 6, 2 OutsApr 13 9:53 PM

  • Brett Wallace single to center scored Angel Sanchez with one out. Runners on first and third and Bill Hall due up.

    Cubs 6, Astros 2  Bot 6, 1 OutApr 13 9:49 PM

  • Carlos Lee single to left scored Michael Bourn with one out. Runners on first and third and Brett Wallace due up.

    Cubs 6, Astros 1  Bot 6, 1 OutApr 13 9:46 PM

  • Starlin Castro singled to center. Runner on first with one out and Darwin Barney due up.

    Cubs 6, Astros 0  Top 6, 1 OutApr 13 9:36 PM

  • Alfonso Soriano two-out, three-run Home Run (4) to left scored Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto. Tyler Colvin due up.

    Cubs 5, Astros 0  Top 1, 2 OutsApr 13 8:20 PM

  • Jeff Baker double to right scored Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez with two outs. Runner on second and Geovany Soto due up.

    Cubs 2, Astros 0  Top 1, 2 OutsApr 13 8:16 PM

  • CHICAGO: 0
    HOUSTON: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Apr 13 8:09 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Cubs vs. AstrosMar 31 2:29 PM