Houston at Chicago

Chi. Cubs
W: C. Sampson (1-0) L: J. Marquis (0-1)
HR: HOU - None   CHC - None

Astros' Sampson continues to impress, keeps Cubs quiet

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Houston's Chris Sampson needed only 64 pitches for five shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs, who seem to be numbed by the cold -- at the plate and in the field.

If Sampson's calf muscle hadn't tightened up while he was running the bases, he could have pitched a little longer on another windy day at Wrigley Field.

"Believe me I didn't want to come out of the game, but for the long run it was the best decision," Sampson said after the Astros' 4-2 win. "It's fine. Pitching, walking, all that doesn't bother it. When I try to run on it that's when it starts getting pretty sore."

Sampson (1-0) allowed three singles in his fourth major league start, his first this season, and the Astros beat the Cubs for a second straight day. The game featured three errors by Chicago shortstop Cesar Izturis, a former Gold Glove winner.

"It was tough today. It's part of the game, errors," Izturis said. "You have to forget about today and come back tomorrow with a new mind."

Getting a boost when the Astros scored three in the first inning, Sampson extended his scoreless streak against the Cubs to 12 innings dating to last season, giving up six hits.

And the starter's role seems to suit him. In his first four major league starts, Sampson is 2-1 and has allowed just one earned run in 19 2/3 innings.

"Sampson did a nice job of making good pitches and our hitters put some runs on the board early," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "They're talking about Chicago's offense hasn't broken out. Well, our offense hasn't broken out, either."

Blanked on three hits through eight innings by Sampson, Rick White and Chad Qualls, the Cubs scored two runs in the ninth with four hits off Dan Wheeler. Derrek Lee and Mark DeRosa had RBI singles before pinch-hitter Matt Murton's game-ending popout with two on.

Even before the loss, which dropped the Cubs to 3-5, Chicago manager Lou Piniella predicted the team would play better once the weather warms. It was 47 degrees Tuesday.

"I was telling our general manager today, the way we're put together as a team, if we play in 40-degree (weather) all year, I don't think we're going to do very well because we don't have that type of team," Piniella said. "We have more power in our lineup. We need to bang it a little more, and once the weather warms up, we will."

After the game, Piniella wanted to make sure his comments weren't misinterpreted. He said the Cubs are more a fly-ball team than a small-ball group but still should be able to win cold-weather games.

In their first two games at home, the Cubs have managed five runs.

"We got to play in cold weather the same way the other team does, and we got to win our share of ballgames in cold weather, the same way the other team does," Piniella said.

"Look, it's not the easiest thing in the world to swing a bat in cold weather," he said. "If you gave me my preference, hitting in 40-degree weather and hitting in 80-degree weather, I'm going to take 80-degree weather all the time. I know it's a tough thing to do, believe me. At same time, you have to be selective and got to make the other pitcher pitch, and I think that's what we did in the ninth."

Houston bunched four straight hits in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead against Jason Marquis (0-1). In his first start for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Marquis allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings. He is 1-4 in the Cubs' home park.

On a day with the wind blowing in at 15 mph, Morgan Ensberg doubled with one out, Lance Berkman singled, Carlos Lee hit an RBI single and Luke Scott followed with a two-run double that went over Alfonso Soriano in center when the new Cubs star appeared to initially misjudge the ball.

"When I hit it, I saw him, he just kind of froze. The ball was hit right at him," Scott said. "It had a little backspin and fortunately it was able to go over his head."

Izturis, who won a Gold Glove in 2004 with the Dodgers, made back-to-back errors in the fourth. He made a low throw on Chris Burke's grounder, then dropped Marquis' throw at the bag on an attempt to start a double play.

In the fifth, Izturis fumbled Craig Biggio's leadoff grounder for his third error. Izturis made six errors in 54 games with Los Angeles and the Cubs last season.

After the third error, Marquis loaded the bases with walks to Berkman and Carlos Lee, and Scott hit an RBI bouncer that made it 4-0.


  • In his first major league start last June, Sampson got his first major league win by shutting out the Cubs on three hits for seven innings.
  • White was like a goalie in the seventh. He took a line drive off his stomach, picked up the ball and threw Michael Barrett out at first. He then grabbed DeRosa's liner to end the inning.
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.
Carlos Lee provides a little offensive firepower (RBI) to go with Chris Sampson's stellar performance.  (AP)
Carlos Lee provides a little offensive firepower (RBI) to go with Chris Sampson's stellar performance. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Sampson
IP 5.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 3

D. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5100023 .229
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5110011 .214
Lance Berkman, 1B3110210 .185
Carlos Lee, LF4121111 .276
Luke Scott, RF4013002 .286
Chris Burke, CF3000111 .185
Adam Everett, SS4010004 .292
Brad Ausmus, C4010002 .294
Chris Sampson, P2000001 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000001 .333
    Rick White, P0000000 .000
   b- Mike Lamb, PH0000100 .200
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Sampson in the 6th
b-walked for White in the 8th
2B - Morgan Ensberg (2, Marquis), Luke Scott (3, Marquis), Brad Ausmus (1, Guzman)
RBI - Carlos Lee (6), Luke Scott 3 (6)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman, Biggio-Everett-Berkman
E - Craig Biggio (2, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Chris Sampson (W,1-0) 5300130 0.00
Rick White 2000010 0.00
Chad Qualls 1000000 4.50
Dan Wheeler 1422020 9.00
HBP - Soriano (by Chris Sampson)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sampson 64-40, Rick White 20-14, Chad Qualls 13-9, Dan Wheeler 30-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sampson 6-5, Rick White 3-2, Chad Qualls 3-0
Batters Faced - Chris Sampson 19, Rick White 6, Chad Qualls 3, Dan Wheeler 7
Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, CF3000011 .200
Jacque Jones, RF4110001 .233
Derrek Lee, 1B4121010 .424
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010012 .406
Cliff Floyd, LF4020001 .313
Michael Barrett, C4000015 .192
Mark DeRosa, 2B4011011 .286
Cesar Izturis, SS2000100 .240
   a- Matt Murton, PH1000002 .267
Jason Marquis, P1000010 .000
   b- Ryan Theriot, PH1000000 .000
    Angel Guzman, P0000000 .000
   c- Daryle Ward, PH1000001 .250
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
a-popped out for Izturis in the 9th
b-grounded out for Marquis in the 5th
c-grounded into a double play for Guzman in the 8th
2B - Jacque Jones (1, Wheeler)
RBI - Derrek Lee (4), Mark DeRosa (7)
2-OUT RBI - Mark DeRosa (1)
Team LOB - 6
DP - DeRosa-Lee, DeRosa-Izturis-Lee
E - Cesar Izturis 3 (3, Throwing)
Chicago Cubs
Jason Marquis (L,0-1) 5443430 3.27
Angel Guzman 3300120 3.38
Scott Eyre 1000010 15.00
WP - Angel Guzman (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Marquis 91-47, Angel Guzman 40-25, Scott Eyre 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Marquis 11-3, Angel Guzman 4-2, Scott Eyre 1-1
Batters Faced - Jason Marquis 25, Angel Guzman 12, Scott Eyre 3
Game Information
Attendance - 35924
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 47
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - James Hoye