Houston-Chicago: Blum Lifts Astros Again over the Cubbies

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Houston-Chicago: Blum Lifts Astros Again over the Cubbies
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

 

The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs engage in another pitching duel as the Astros  comes out on top 2-1 in 13 innings.

 

Geoff Blum for the second consecutive game got a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 13th with two outs. 

 

The Astros (27-31) won their fifth consecutive series and finished their 10-game home stand 7-3. Houston also moved to five games behind the National League Central leading Milwaukee Brewers.

 

Houston starter Russ Ortiz pitched five-and-one-third scoreless innings only giving up three hits, walked three, and struck out five. Chicago’s starter Ryan Dempster pitched six scoreless innings after giving up a run in the first.

 

The Astros only had four runners make it past first base. Michael Bourn led off the game with a double and Lance Berkman got a double in the sixth. Berkman also made it to second in the 11th on Blum’s single. 

 

Matt Kata got a pinch-hit single in the tenth and reached second on Andres Blanco’s error. Hunter Pence stole second on Jason Michael’s swing in the thirteenth and scored the winning run.

 

The Cubs (29-28) lost their first series vs. the Astros this season, despite only allowing five runs. Chicago entered the series 5-2 against the Astros.

 

The Cubs only had three runners make it past first. Derrek Lee walked in the second and reached third base on Mike Fontenot’s single. In the ninth Lee homered. Dempster reached third on Alfonso Soriano’s single after leading off the sixth with a walk.

 

Dempster allowed only six hits and struck out four with no walks. Carlos Marmol pitched two scoreless innings. Kevin Gregg pitched two scoreless innings only allowing three hits. Jose Ascanio pitched the last inning and a third allowing one run on one hit and two walks.

 

The Astros started the scoring in the first inning. Bourn led off with a double to left and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lee.

 

The Cubs were looking to tie the game in the top of the second with runners on the corners and one out. However, Hill grounded into an inning ending double play.

 

Ortiz and Astros' relievers had to escape another Cubs threat in the top of the sixth. Dempster led off the inning with a walk and Soriano followed with a single sending Dempster to third. Ortiz struck out Theriot before Astros manager Cecil Cooper pulled him for Tim Byrdak.

 

Bourn made a key defensive play in the seventh when he made a sitting down catch on the hill.

 

Byrdak struck out Fukudome and was pulled for Alberto Arias. Derrek Lee grounded out to second to end the inning.

 

Arias pitched one and one-third innings, allowing one walk and striking out one. Chris Sampson only needed nine pitches in a perfect eighth inning striking out one. 

 

After LaTroy Hawkins got Fukudome to ground out to second, Derrek Lee hit a home run to right field to tie the game. Hawkins earned his third blown save but got the next two batters out.

 

Hawkins pitched two innings allowing one run on two hits, one walk and one strike out. Jeff Fulchino pitched the last three innings of the game allowing one hit and striking out two. Fulchino picked up his second career win.

 

Berkman and Miguel Tejada entered the game chasing milestones. Tejada only needed two more hits to reach 2,000 for his career and got a hit in the first. Berkman only needed one home run to reach 300 for his career but was unable to do so. Berkman went two-for-four with one double.

 

The Astros begin a 10-day road trip on Wednesday starting in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. The Cubs return home to face the Minnesota Twins.

 

 

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