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Chicago at Houston

Venue: Minute Maid Park

Justin Germano doesn't need any reminders of how poorly he's pitched lately for the Chicago Cubs. Facing the team he last beat may help take his mind off those tough outings.

He'll try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss while the visiting Cubs seek their first five-game winning streak of the season Tuesday night against the Houston Astros.

Germano (2-6, 6.95 ERA) has a dismal 11.09 ERA over his last four starts after giving up seven runs in four innings of Thursday's 9-2 loss at Washington, his shortest start of the season. He's allowed at least five runs in each outing during his slump as opponents have hit .369.

His last victory came against Houston on Aug. 15, when he allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-2 win. Germano's only lifetime start in Houston was the worst of his career, though, as he gave up a career-high 10 runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings while pitching for San Diego on April 21, 2008.

Chicago (55-86) hopes this outing goes much better as it seeks to win five straight for the first time since a seven-game run July 31-Aug. 6, 2011.

The Cubs swept Pittsburgh over the weekend, then beat the Astros 4-1 in Monday's series opener. Dave Sappelt doubled twice and finished with three RBIs as Chicago ended a five-game losing streak in Houston.

Manager Dale Sveum said the Cubs are conscious of their record and are hoping to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since the 1966 team went 59-103.

"Those guys are starting to understand how close that 100 losses is," Sveum said. "That's the goal. That's the talk now and obviously they're responding now."

The Astros (44-97), meanwhile, have lost 10 of their last 11 at home and are inching closer to their second consecutive 100-loss campaign. Houston interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said his young players need to start capitalizing on opportunities.

Justin Maxwell and Fernando Martinez each went 2 for 4 on Monday.

"I'm glad the guys are getting opportunities to prove they are major league hitters, but at some point, the guys have to be accountable for their at-bats and try to grind them out," DeFrancesco said.

Houston will look to bounce back with help from Jordan Lyles, though it has lost 18 of his 21 starts.

Lyles (3-11, 5.55) had another rough outing last Tuesday, giving up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at Pittsburgh.

"I think it comes down to delivery," Lyles said. "I've got to work on being better out of the stretch, and (Tuesday) it wasn't there."

The right-hander, though, has been better at home, going 2-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 10 outings compared to 1-7 with a 6.95 ERA in 11 road starts. Both of Lyles' career outings versus the Cubs were in Chicago last season, as he delivered two quality starts without earning a decision.

The teams combined for 14 walks, two hit batters, three wild pitches and 24 left on base in Monday's series opener.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Justin Germano, RHP
2012 stats
49.2 Innings Pitched 118.1
2-6 Wins-Losses 3-11
6.16 Earned Run Average 5.55
12 Walks 34
33 Strikeouts 81
85 Pitches Per Start 95
Career vs. opponent
15.2 Innings Pitched 13.0
1-2 Wins-Losses 0-0
8.62 Earned Run Average 3.46

Jordan Lyles, RHP
weather image  Afternoon clouds. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Chi Cubs1st NL Central10056.641-7-3 W 2
Houston3rd AL West8275.522105-5 L 1
vs Jordan Lyles
vs Justin Germano

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Game Odds
Chi. Cubs 115 Houston -125
Chi Cubs
A. AcevedoKnee
D. BeelerElbow
A. BrooksHip
A. CrowElbow
Z. RosscupShoulder
K. SchwarberKnee
C. VillanuevaAnkle
M. ZagunisFoot
A. BregmanHamstring
D. CameronFinger
K. GilesWrist
D. KeuchelShoulder
L. McCullersElbow
T. NashSuspension
C. RasmusUndisclosed
P. TuckerShoulder
L. ValbuenaHamstring
Series Game Log
Apr 25SEASEA 3-2Walker Fister 
Apr 26SEASEA 11-1Karns Keuchel 
Apr 27SEAHOU 7-4McHugh Iwakuma 
May 5HOUSEA 6-3Vincent Gregerson 
May 6HOUHOU 6-3Fister Walker 
May 7HOUSEA 3-2Cishek Sipp 
May 8HOUHOU 5-1McHugh Iwakuma 
Jul 4HOUHOU 2-1McCullers Miley 
Jul 5HOUHOU 5-2Keuchel Walker 
Jul 6HOUHOU 9-8Giles Diaz 
Jul 15SEAHOU 7-3Fister Paxton 
Jul 16SEASEA 1-0Iwakuma McCullers 
Jul 17SEAHOU 8-1McHugh Montgomery 
Sep 16SEAHOU 6-0McHugh Hernandez 
Sep 17SEAHOU 2-1Fiers Paxton 
Sep 18SEASEA 7-3Miranda Fister 
Sep 26HOUSEA 4-3  
Sep 27HOU 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 28HOU 2:10 PM EDT