Cubs
Astros
1 - 4 Final
  for this game

Rodriguez outduels Zambrano as Astros drop Cubs

Jul 20, 2008 - 2:57 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Wandy Rodriguez befuddled the Chicago Cubs for 6 2/3 innings and the Houston Astros' bullpen finished off the Chicago Cubs for a 4-1 victory Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Chris Sampson, Doug Brocail and Jose Valverde pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief to give Houston its second straight win over the National League Central Division leaders. Valverde recorded his 25th save.

Rodriguez (5-3) allowed one run and nine hits while striking out seven without a walk.

"In years past, he would lose it for an inning and the game would get away from him," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said of Rodriguez. "You don't see that anymore. Everytime he got in a little bit of trouble (tonight), he made some pitches. His breaking ball was really good."

"I'm learning more every year," said Rodriguez, in his fourth season with the Astros, through an interpreter. "I'm concentrating more on the pitches with people on base. It's more about concentration and location. The location was good and the breaking pitch was great tonight."

Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano (10-4) broke up the shutout himself with an opposite-field home run with two outs in the seventh, cutting Chicago's deficit to 3-1. Ryan Theriot followed with a single, his third hit of the game, to knock out Rodriguez.

For Zambrano, who entered the game hitting .352, it was his second home run of the season and the 14th of his career, the most in franchise history for a Cubs' pitcher. It also was his fourth career homer at Minute Maid Park.

"I feel good for that," Zambrano said of his homer. "It doesn't matter if you lose the game."

Sampson replaced Rodriguez and struck out pinch hitter Daryle Ward to end the top of the seventh.

The Astros scored in the second inning on a walk to Carlos Lee, a single by Miguel Tejada that advanced Lee to third and a RBI groundout by Hunter Pence.

Tejada, who started the season hot at the plate and slumped in June, is 5-for-8 since the break.

"The pitchers figured out how to get me out," Tejada said of his slump. "I had a great time at the All-Star Game and that got me going. We played one of the best teams in baseball (in the Cubs)."

Tejada, always known for his offense, has played shortstop better than some anticipated, displaying excellent range and a strong arm.

"The National League teams didn't get to see me play much (before this year)," he said. "People know how good a shortstop I am now."

Lee, who leads the majors in hitting in July, drove in Houston's second run, scoring Rodriguez who had opened the third with a single. Tejada followed with another single to make it 3-0.

"Thank God I got a base hit and scored," Rodriguez said.

Houston made it 4-1 in the seventh when pinch hitter David Newhan led off with a triple and scored on Darin Erstad's groundout.

The Astros' bullpen did not allow a hit for the second game in a row, with Geoff Geary pitching 2 1/3 innings of perfect relief in Friday's 2-1 victory.

"Everybody feels great," Valverde said of the bullpen. "We don't think too much about what happened the first half (of the season). The bullpen is enjoying what they're doing. I didn't throw for six or seven days (because of the All-Star break). Not just for me, it was good for everybody."

Zambrano (10-4) had won his last two starts, allowing just one run in 14 innings. He pitched 6 1/3 innings Saturday, allowing six hits and four runs.

"I feel good, but I was behind in the count a lot," Zambrano said. "I still made some decent pitches, especially to Tejada, and he went after it."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella was unhappy with Zambrano's demeanor.

"One of these days he's going to learn to harness his emotions," Piniella said. "Hopefully, I'll still be here. There's no reason to show your frustrations. All you do is pick up the other team and hurt yourself."

"That's the way I know I am," Zambrano said. "I wasn't controlling myself. That's the most important thing."

Piniella was more concerned with the Cubs' offense that has scored only two runs total in the two games since the break.

"Without scoring runs, it's starting to get a little worrisome," he said. "The road record (20-28) needs to be better. We don't score much on the road, and I don't know why. We're not getting much hitting anywhere in the lineup except Theriot."

Theriot extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games by opening the game with a single and raised his average to .325.

"We'll come out of it," he said of the Cubs' recent lack of offense. "I don't think anybody's worried."








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

    BATTERIES: CHN - CARLOS ZAMBRANO, CHAD GAUDIN (7TH) AND GEOVANY SOTO
    HOU - WANDY RODRIGUEZ, CHRIS SAMPSON (7TH), DOUG
    BROCAIL (8TH), JOSE VALVERDE (9TH) AND BRAD AUSMUS

    HOME

    Jul 19 9:29 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - PITCHING CHANGE
    CHN: CHAD GAUDIN (0-0, 1.93) IN THE 7TH
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, K MATSUI ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 1, HOUSTON 4
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.302, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Cubs 1, Astros 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 19 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS ZAMBRANO (2) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF WANDY RODRIGUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 1, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: R THERIOT (.323, 2-FOR-3)

    Cubs 1, Astros 3  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 19 8:45 PM
  • 50
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 50 roots

    Cubs 0, Astros 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 19 8:23 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MIGUEL TEJADA SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M TEJADA ON FIRST, C LEE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.268, 0-FOR-1, RBI)

    Cubs 0, Astros 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 19 8:00 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED WANDY RODRIGUEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON FIRST, L BERKMAN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.282, 1-FOR-1)

    Cubs 0, Astros 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 19 7:58 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEJADA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.278, 8 HR, 22 RBI)

    Cubs 0, Astros 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 19 7:38 PM