Astros
Cubs
6 - 1 Final
  for this game

Rodriguez, Pence lead Astros past Cubs

Aug 31, 2007 - 11:24 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- It took more than a month, but Wandy Rodriguez finally got his groove back.

Rodriguez pitched six superb innings as the Houston Astros posted a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.

Rookie Hunter Pence went 2-for-4 with two home runs and a career-high five RBI for Houston, which has won three of four games since Cecil Cooper was named interim manager on Monday.

Two of those victories came against the St. Louis Cardinals, who are one of the close pursuers to the National League Central Division-leading Cubs (68-65).

With the loss, Chicago saw its lead in the division reduced to two games over the Milwaukee Brewers (66-67) and 2 1/2 over St. Louis (64-66). Both the Brewers and Cardinals play Friday night.

Rodriguez (8-12), who was 1-9 in his previous 11 road starts this season, scattered four hits and three walks to notch his first win since July 26. The lefthander, who struck out five, had been 0-3 with a 6.03 ERA in six starts since his last victory.

"I don't get caught up in home and road stats," Astros catcher Brad Ausmus said. "Wandy did a nice job today, he used his fastball well. He didn't have his best curveball. However, the key was the location of his fastball."

Pence was involved in each inning the Astros scored.

In the first, Pence led off with a walk before scoring on a one-out double to left-center field by Lance Berkman, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

"He's a guy who can produce runs," Cooper said of Pence. "One day, he might hit further down in the lineup, but right now, he set's the tone for what we want to do with the batting order."

With runners on second and third and two outs in the fourth, Pence smashed a 1-1 fastball from Sean Marshall into the second row of seats in left field, increasing the Astros' advantage to four.

"(Marshall) threw me a fastball in," Pence said. "I saw the ball real well today."

After giving up another hit and a walk in the inning, Marshall was replaced by Mike Wuertz.

Marshall (7-7) allowed four runs - one earned - five hits and a season high-tying four walks in 3 2/3 frames. The lefthander, who has failed to last four innings three times this season, fell to 1-4 in five career starts against Houston.

"I feel I have pitched well against the Astros," Marshall said. "It was a battle for me today. I think I'll face them again in a couple of starts. Hopefully, I can bounce back."

The Astros upped their advantage in the sixth. Two batters after Brad Ausmus led off with a walk, Pence belted a 1-1 pitch from Wuertz deep into the right-center field seats to make it 6-0.

The blast, his 14th of the season, completed Pence's first career multi-homer performance.

"I don't care about that stuff," Pence said about his stats. "I am just concerned about this team getting back in the race. This is a big series for us."

Daryle Ward hit a pinch RBI single in the eighth and Aramis Ramirez collected three of the seven hits by Chicago, which had won its previous four home games vs. Houston.

"You are not going to hit every day," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Down the stretch, we are going to have to swing the bats more consistently, I'll tell you that."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 1 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 6 8 1
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ, DAVE BORKOWSKI (7TH), TREVER MILLER (8TH) AND
    BRAD AUSMUS
    CHN - SEAN MARSHALL, MIKE WUERTZ (4TH), KERRY WOOD
    (7TH), SCOTT EYRE (9TH) AND HEN

    Aug 31 5:28 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DARYLE WARD SCORED ARAMIS RAMIREZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D WARD ON FIRST, C MONROE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6
    CHICAGO CUBS 1 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: H BLANCO (.190, 0-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. CubsAug 31 5:09 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (14) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF MIKE WUERTZ SCORED BRAD AUSMUS.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6, CHICAGO CUBS 0
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.257, 2-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. CubsAug 31 4:16 PM


  • NL
    AT CHICAGO CUBS - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (13) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 4TH OFF SEAN MARSHALL SCORED TY WIGGINTON AND CHRIS BURKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4, CHICAGO CUBS 0
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.255, 1-FOR-2)

    Astros vs. CubsAug 31 3:33 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 1 1 1 0
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ
    CHN - SEAN MARSHALL

    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.282, 3 HR, 39 RBI)
    M DEROSA (.291, 8 HR, 62 RBI)
    D LEE (.309, 15 HR, 6

    Astros vs. CubsAug 31 2:38 PM