Houston at Chicago

Chi. Cubs
W: R. Oswalt (6-3) L: G. Maddux (7-6)
S: B. Lidge (17)
HR: HOU - None   CHC - None

Oswalt earns decision for Astros in return from injury

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- As a pitcher and also as a hitter, Roy Oswalt got rid of the rust quickly.

"Roy for just coming off the disabled list looked pretty good," Chicago's Phil Nevin said after Oswalt pitched and batted the Houston Astros to a 5-4 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night.

"Oswalt is Oswalt. I don't care what day it is. He's not won all those games by luck," the Cubs' Matt Murton added.

Oswalt (6-3), who'd been on the DL with a strained back and hadn't pitched since May 29, allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings. It was the right-hander's first win in his last six starts, dating back to his last win on May 3, a stretch that had included two losses and three no-decisions.

He also had two of Houston's 11 hits off Greg Maddux, both with two outs.

"I was hoping to last six, seven innings and go deep into the game," said Oswalt, a 20-game winner in each of the last two seasons. "I felt the first two innings I would try to get warm and not try to go too hard right out of the gate. After the fourth, I started feeling better and better."

Maddux (7-6), who started the season 5-0, gave up five runs and the 11 hits in seven innings.

Craig Biggio and Preston Wilson drove in two runs each for the Astros, who have won seven of eight. Three of Houston's five runs came off two-out hits against Maddux.

"I left pitches up with two strikes that I was trying to throw in the dirt," Maddux said. "It's kind of a tough way to get beat. If they go down and pick it, that's one thing. But to hang pitches like that with two strikes way ahead in the count. ..."

Trailing 5-3, the Cubs rallied in the eighth off reliever Chad Qualls, who walked pinch-hitter Tony Womack and gave up a single to Michael Barrett. Nevin delivered a run-scoring infield single on a ball hit to shortstop Adam Everett, whose throw to second for a force was wide. Qualls then got Aramis Ramirez to hit into a double play and struck out Jacque Jones to end the inning.

The Astros turned three double plays. That and Oswalt's two hits were the difference. At least according to Cubs manager Dusty Baker.

"What hurt us was Oswalt got a couple of key knocks for them," Baker said. "His hits accounted for two runs and ended up beating us."

Houston had five hits in a three-run second inning off the 40-year-old Maddux, a 325-game winner.

Lance Berkman had an infield single to start the second and after Jason Lane lined a ball over left fielder Murton's head for a double, Wilson hit an RBI grounder. Brad Ausmus singled and the Astros made it 2-0 when Everett laid down a squeeze bunt to score Lane. Oswalt followed with a single and Biggio gave the Astros a three-run cushion with an RBI single.

The Astros are awaiting the season debut of Roger Clemens but getting Oswalt back was a big deal, as well. His pitching was what they were looking for, his bat just an added plus.

"It's huge," Biggio said. "He is one of the nastiest guys in the National League. It's a huge lift to get him back tonight."

Jones hit a sacrifice fly after Nevin's leadoff double and a single by Ramirez in the bottom half of the second for the Cubs' first run. Chicago closed to within 3-2 in the third when Ronny Cedeno tripled and Maddux delivered a run-scoring grounder.

Oswalt helped himself in the fourth, doubling with two outs and coming home on another RBI single by Biggio.

"I told the guys I was going back to my old style of hitting," Oswalt said. "When I was in high school I was straight up and I was able to see the ball. ... I don't know what it (the pitch) was, I just saw it and swung."

Barrett, Nevin and Ramirez hit three straight singles to start the bottom of the fourth and cut the lead to 4-3 before Oswalt struck out Jones and got Murton to hit into a double play.

Wilson had a two-out RBI single in the fifth, scoring Chris Burke, who'd singled and stole second.

Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.


  • Barrett's appeal hearing on his 10-game suspension for punching the White Sox's A.J. Pierzynski and starting a brawl last month is scheduled for Friday in Chicago.
  • Oswalt's two hits matched his season total (2-for-27) entering the game. It was hit first two-hit game since Sept. 11, 2005. He now has eight multi-hit games in his career.
  • Oswalt is now 10-6 in his career against the Cubs and 4-1 in his last five starts against them. He beat them for his 20th victory last October. Wednesday night's outing marked his first at Wrigley Field since Aug. 27, 2004.
  • Nevin and Barrett each had three hits.
Copyright 2017 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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Back from the disabled list, Roy Oswalt picks up his first win in the last six starts. (AP)
Back from the disabled list, Roy Oswalt picks up his first win in the last six starts. (AP)

Players of the Game

P. Nevin
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

C. Biggio
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5022000 .286
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Mike Lamb, 3B4010003 .351
Chris Burke, CF-2B4110001 .310
Lance Berkman, 1B4110010 .310
Jason Lane, RF4120011 .214
Preston Wilson, LF4012011 .276
Brad Ausmus, C4110001 .281
Adam Everett, SS3001000 .209
Roy Oswalt, P3120000 .133
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000010 .226
    Willy Taveras, CF0000000 .266
a-struck out for Qualls in the 9th
2B - Jason Lane (6, Maddux), Roy Oswalt (1, Maddux)
SH - Adam Everett (2)
RBI - Craig Biggio 2 (25), Preston Wilson 2 (35), Adam Everett (25)
2-OUT RBI - Craig Biggio 2 (11), Preston Wilson (16)
SB - Chris Burke (6, 2nd base off Maddux/Barrett)
CS - Adam Everett (1, 2nd base by Maddux/Barrett)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (W,6-3) 6833020 3.21
Dan Wheeler (H,10) 0.2100000 4.50
Trever Miller (H,3) 0.1000000 4.50
Chad Qualls (H,7) 1211110 3.93
Brad Lidge (S,17) 1000020 4.83
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 90-56, Dan Wheeler 10-6, Trever Miller 6-3, Chad Qualls 18-10, Brad Lidge 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 8-6, Chad Qualls 1-0
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 24, Dan Wheeler 3, Trever Miller 1, Chad Qualls 5, Brad Lidge 3
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4010001 .241
Neifi Perez, 2B3000001 .208
   a- Tony Womack, PH-2B0100100 .288
Michael Barrett, C4130000 .307
Phil Nevin, 1B4131001 .234
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4021002 .252
Jacque Jones, RF3001034 .287
Matt Murton, LF4000012 .269
Ronny Cedeno, SS4110000 .300
Greg Maddux, P2001000 .143
   b- Freddie Bynum, PH1010000 .233
    Bob Howry, P00000001.000
    Ryan Dempster, P0000000 .000
   c- John Mabry, PH1000010 .219
a-walked for Perez in the 8th
b-singled for Maddux in the 7th
c-struck out for Dempster in the 9th
2B - Phil Nevin (10, Oswalt)
3B - Ronny Cedeno (5, Oswalt)
SF - Jacque Jones (2)
RBI - Phil Nevin (37), Aramis Ramirez (35), Jacque Jones (33), Greg Maddux (4)
SB - Freddie Bynum (5, 2nd base off Miller/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Cedeno-Perez-Nevin
E - Aramis Ramirez (3, Misplayed grouder)
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux (L,7-6) 71155010 4.82
Bob Howry 1000020 2.01
Ryan Dempster 1000010 3.56
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 90-66, Bob Howry 15-8, Ryan Dempster 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 15-4, Bob Howry 1-0, Ryan Dempster 1-1
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 31, Bob Howry 3, Ryan Dempster 3
Game Information
Attendance - 39946
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Dale Scott