Offensive outburst helps Astros defeat CubsMay 31, 2011 - 2:25 AM
Clint Barmes, Hunter Pence, J.R. Towles and Jeff Keppinger each went yard for the Astros, who won the series opener after suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. The club's 12 runs and 16 hits also marked season highs.
Sergio Escalona (1-0) picked up the win after spelling Aneury Rodriguez in the fifth. Escalona worked a scoreless frame, while Rodriguez allowed six runs -- four earned -- on seven hits and two walks with four strike outs.
Rodrigo Lopez, in his first start with Chicago after arriving from Atlanta via trade, allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Jeff Samardzija (3-1) allowed two runs on two hits, including one home run, over 1 2/3 innings of relief to suffer the loss.
"Well, I'm not satisfied," said Lopez. "I think I let the team down. You know, I got a lot of run support from the team."
Carlos Pena blasted a two-run homer for the Cubs, who have dropped three of four.
Michael Bourn, who finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored, led off the game with a single to center and scored on Pence's 17th double of the season. Pence crossed the plate, giving the Astros an early 2-0 lead, on Keppinger's two-out double.
Chicago promptly responded, taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first behind a Starlin Castro RBI single and Pena's two-out blast to right.
A throwing error by Towles allowed the Cubs to a take a 4-2 lead in the second, but Houston made it 4-3 on Carlos Lee's RBI single in the third.
Chicago added a run in each of its next two at bats, as Blake DeWitt, who replaced the injured Alfonso Soriano in the second, drove home Aramis Ramirez with a triple off the Ivy in right-center and Kosuke Fukudome scored courtesy of a Pence error in the fourth.
The Astros utilized back-to-back homers to even the game in the fifth, as Barmes lifted a two-run shot into left and Pence atoned for his error with a his seventh bomb of the season, knotting the game at six apiece.
Towles' leadoff homer in the sixth gave Houston a 7-6 lead.
In the seventh, with runners on second and third, Brett Wallace grounded a ball to short, which rolled under the glove of Castro. Pence scored on the play, but Lee was gunned down attempting to take home. Wallace then scored on a Chris Johnson double, extending the lead to 9-6.
Keppinger's first homer of the season -- a three-run blast to left-center -- completed the Astros' offensive onslaught.
Castro scored on a Carlos Pena groundout in the bottom of the ninth to seal the final margin at 12-7.
Mark Melancon allowed the final run in the ninth, while Enerio Del Rosario and Wilton Lopez combined to work three scoreless innings of relief for the Astros.
"Our bullpen was pretty special," said Houston manager Brad Mills. "They did a real good job. They had a little hiccup here and there, but you know what, they were real good before the series and they were outstanding today."
Soriano left the game after straining his left quad attempting to beat out a grounder in the first inning...Lopez was traded to Chicago in a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves Thursday and joined the Cubs major league roster on Friday...Monday marked Lopez's 200th career start...Pence has hit safely in 11 straight games...Houston has won Rodriguez's last three starts.
- HOUSTON: 12
May 30 5:49 PM
- Carlos Pena grounded out to first scored Starlin Castro. None on with two outs and Blake DeWitt due up.
Astros 12, Cubs 7 Bot 9, 2 OutsMay 30 5:48 PM
- Brett Wallace grounded out short to first. None on with one out and Chris Johnson due up.
Astros 12, Cubs 6 Top 9, 1 OutMay 30 5:32 PM
- Chris Johnson singled to left. On the play, Blake DeWitt's error fielding scored Brett Wallace. On the play, Johnson advances to second on the error. Runner on second with two outs and J.R. Towles due up.
Astros 9, Cubs 6 Top 7, 2 OutsMay 30 4:59 PM
- Brett Wallace reached first on Starlin Castro's fielding error scored Hunter Pence. On the play, Carlos Lee out at home, left to catcher. Runner on first with two outs and Chris Johnson due up.
Astros 8, Cubs 6 Top 7, 2 OutsMay 30 4:57 PM
- J.R. Towles lead-off Home Run (3) to left. Sergio Escalona due up.
Astros 7, Cubs 6 Top 6, 0 OutsMay 30 4:28 PM
- Hunter Pence one-out, solo Home Run (7) to left center. Carlos Lee due up.
Astros 6, Cubs 6 Top 5, 1 OutMay 30 4:04 PM
- Clint Barmes one-out, two-run Home Run (2) to left scored Michael Bourn. Hunter Pence due up.
Astros 5, Cubs 6 Top 5, 1 OutMay 30 4:02 PM
- Aramis Ramirez flied out to left to end the inning.
Astros 3, Cubs 6 End 4May 30 3:59 PM
- Blake DeWitt tripled to right center scored Aramis Ramirez. Runner on third with two outs and Tony Campana due up.
Astros 3, Cubs 5 Bot 3, 2 OutsMay 30 3:33 PM
- Carlos Lee singled to center scored Michael Bourn. Runner on first with two outs and Jeff Keppinger due up.
Astros 3, Cubs 4 Top 3, 2 OutsMay 30 3:24 PM
- Tony Campana stole third and scored on J.R. Towles' throwing error on a pickoff attempt. On the play, Kosuke Fukudome advances to second. Runner on second with two outs and Darwin Barney at the plate.
Astros 2, Cubs 4 Bot 2, 2 OutsMay 30 3:11 PM
- Carlos Pena two-out, two-run Home Run (7) to right scored Starlin Castro. Alfonso Soriano due up.
Astros 2, Cubs 3 Bot 1, 2 OutsMay 30 2:49 PM
- Starlin Castro stole second. Runner on second with one out and Aramis Ramirez at the plate.
Astros 2, Cubs 1 Bot 1, 1 OutMay 30 2:47 PM
- Jeff Keppinger doubled to center scored Hunter Pence. Runner on second with two outs and Brett Wallace due up.
Astros 2, Cubs 0 Top 1, 2 OutsMay 30 2:36 PM
- Hunter Pence doubled to right scored Michael Bourn. Runner on second with one out and Carlos Lee due up.
Astros 1, Cubs 0 Top 1, 1 OutMay 30 2:32 PM
- HOUSTON: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
May 30 2:26 PM
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