Pence's grand slam propels Astros past CubsMay 21, 2008 - 3:58 AM By Andrew J. Ferraro PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
HOUSTON (Ticker) - Hunter Pence only needed one swing of the bat to give the Houston Astros all the offense they would need Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
With the bases loaded, Pence delivered a grand slam to the opposite field to help the Astros post a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Pence went 3-for-4, coming a triple shy of the first cycle of his career, and Chris Sampson pitched 6 2/3 solid innings for Houston.
With the Astros trailing, 2-0, with one out in the fourth inning, Pence drilled a 2-0 fastball from Ryan Dempster (5-2) into the first row of seats in right field for his second career grand slam.
"I knew I had hit it pretty good right there, but my first thought was to just run as fast as I could," Pence said.
"The pitch was up a little bit and he hit it into the second row," Dempster said. "For me, it was everything that led up to the homer that bothered me. It was just bad inning management. I had (Carlos) Lee 0-2 and I had chances to get out of it, but I didn't."
It was the fifth homer for Pence, who drilled his other grand slam against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 5, 2007.
The four runs were enough for Sampson (3-3), who allowed two runs, seven hits and a walk to improve to 3-0 in six career outings against the Cubs. The righthander, who turns 30 on Friday, has seen his club win five of his last six starts overall.
"I felt really good out there today and I accomplished my goal," Sampson said. "My goal every night, every time I go out there is to give my team a chance to win and I thought I did that.
"Hopefully, now, we can get on another roll here and start another winning streak."
Sampson was lifted for Doug Brocail with two on and two outs in the sixth inning, who struck out Alfonso Soriano to get out of the frame.
"We just weren't the most patient hitting team tonight, and that cost us," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We had a chance to do a lot of damage there in the seventh, but we got nothing to show for it."
Brocail pitched 1 1/3 innings before Jose Valverde came on in the ninth to record his 13th save.
"The story of this game was Chris Sampson," Pence said. "He came out tonight, and just showed a tremendous amount of heart. He pitched a really good ballgame for us and the bullpen came in right behind him and closed the door."
Aramis Ramirez belted a two-run homer in the fourth and Dempster allowed four runs, six hits and two walks in six innings for Chicago.
"One hit killed me tonight," Dempster said.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 1
HOUSTON 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 x 4 8 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: CHN - RYAN DEMPSTER, JOSE ASCANIO (7TH) AND GEOVANY SOTO
HOU - CHRIS SAMPSON, DOUG BROCAIL (7TH), JOSE VALVERDE
(9TH) AND J.R. TOWLES, BRAD AUSMUS (7TH)
May 20 10:38 PM
AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
GRAND SLAM BY HUNTER PENCE (5) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
4TH OFF RYAN DEMPSTER SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA, LANCE BERKMAN AND GEOFF
CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 2, HOUSTON 4
DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: J TOWLES (.147, 0-FOR-1)
Cubs 2, Astros 4 Bot 4, 0 OutsMay 20 9:11 PM
AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ (8) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
0 OUT IN THE 4TH OFF CHRIS SAMPSON SCORED DERREK LEE.
CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 2, HOUSTON 0
DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: K FUKUDOME (.317, 0-FOR-1)
Cubs 2, Astros 0 Top 4, 0 OutsMay 20 8:57 PM
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