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Wells gets 1st win since April, Cubs top Astros

Jul 23, 2011 - 10:16 PM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Randy Wells earned his first victory in more than three months, while Geovany Soto homered and drove in two runs, as Chicago downed Houston, 5-1, in the middle test of a three-game series from Wrigley Field.

Wells (2-3) allowed five hits and one run, fanning four and walking two over six innings en route to his first positive decision since an April 4 win over Arizona.

"I thought he started to get the ball up a bit later in the outing, but it's understandable," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "He made a lot of pitches, but I made the decision for a lot of reasons. If we get him through six, with a chance to win, with the bullpen throwing as good as they did, it seemed the right thing to do. If he can build on that, that's fantastic."

Marlon Byrd also hit a solo shot and Starlin Castro knocked in a run for the Cubs, who have taken the first two in the set after dropping six of their previous eight.

Carlos Lee finished 3-for-4 and drove in the lone run for the Astros, who have dropped four of six.

Wandy Rodriguez (6-7) took the loss despite yielding only two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts in seven full frames.

Chicago helped Wells' cause in the eighth inning, picking up three valuable insurance runs. Sergio Escalona allowed a one-out triple to Kosuke Fukudome, then Fernando Rodriquez walked Reed Johnson before Castro's single to deep third made it 3-1.

Pinch-hitter Carlos Pena drew a two-out walk to load the bases and Soto followed with another infield hit to third which brought in Johnson. Houston's Chris Johnson made a diving stop on the play, but his errant throw to first also allowed Castro to come in for a 5-1 game.

Carlos Marmol struggled once again in the ninth. He put the first two men on base via a hit and hit-by-pitch, but managed to retire the next three batters to lock down the win.

Byrd cleared the wall in left-center with two down in the second, then Chicago went up 2-0 in the fifth as Soto led off with a blast to left.

Lee knocked in Angel Sanchez with a sixth-inning single to halve Houston's deficit, but the Astros failed to make any headway in the top of the eighth despite two on and two out after pinch-hitter Matt Downs fanned swinging.

"We had to get the first guy on more," said Astros manager Brad Mills. "I know Carlos had three hits. He swung the bat pretty good and had our one RBI. (Michael) Bourn started off the game with a single. Any time you get the leadoff guy on you have to build on it, and we didn't."

Game Notes

Wells had gone 0-3 with six no-decisions since his first start of the year...Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4 on Saturday, snapping his home hit streak at nine games and his home on-base string at 17...Houston fell to 4-14 in July...Lee entered the contest having hit 20 homers at Wrigley...Former Chicago Bears kicker Kevin Butler, part of Chicago's 1985 title team, sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

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    Jul 23 3:56 PM

  • Geovany Soto infield single to third scored Reed Johnson with two out. On the play, Chris Johnson throwing error scored Starlin Castro. Runners on first and third with two outs and Marlon Byrd due up.

    Astros 1, Cubs 5  Bot 8, 2 OutsJul 23 3:45 PM

  • Starlin Castro infield single to third scored Kosuke Fukudome with one out. On the play, Reed Johnson advances to second. Runners on first and second with one out and Aramis Ramirez due up.

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  • Carlos Lee single to center scored Angel Sanchez with one out. Runner on first with one out and Chris Johnson due up.

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  • Geovany Soto lead-off Home Run (9) to left. Marlon Byrd due up.

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  • Marlon Byrd two-out, solo Home Run (5) to left center. Alfonso Soriano due up.

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