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Chicago at Houston

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Chi. Cubs (28-19)300000000350
Houston (27-21) «00401000x590

Astros' Chacon tops Cubs, ends streak of nine no-decisions

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Decisions, decisions -- or rather, finally just one.

Shawn Chacon pitched seven solid innings for his first victory this season, breaking his major league record streak of nine consecutive no-decisions to start a season in Houston's 5-3 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

Carlos Lee's three-run homer in the third inning helped Chacon (1-0) overcome a rough start and avoid tying another mark -- the overall record for consecutive starts without a decision -- or worse, let his first decision be a loss.

The Astros took two out of three games from their NL Central rivals and have won nine of their past 13 games.

"It feels like I won my first game ever, that's how long it's been," a beaming Chacon said. "I was pretty happy. But more importantly, we win the series against the first-place team and we've got some momentum heading into this weekend."

It was his first victory since Aug. 28.

Derrek Lee hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Chicago an early lead. Micah Hoffpauir doubled for his first major league hit before scoring on a double by Geovany Soto that made it 3-0.

"He settled down after the first inning," Derrek Lee said of Chacon. "He really just shut us down after that."

Ryan Theriot singled with two outs in the second inning, but was picked off at first after drifting too far from the base. Chacon, in his first season in Houston after spending 2007 in Pittsburgh, then settled down and retired the next 12 batters, with four strikeouts.

"It was good," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "He deserved it. After the first inning, you can't pitch better than that."

He didn't allow another hit until Hoffpauir's double to lead off the seventh inning. He got the next three in a row out before he was replaced by Doug Brocail to start the eighth.

The win should allow him to shed the nickname "ND" his teammates took to calling him during his string of no-decisions.

"It is gone. Right now," he said. "It was a crazy streak. I didn't think I'd go almost two months without a decision but, hey get the first one and let it be a win, I can't complain."

Brocail was perfect in the eighth and closer Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save. Valverde has not allowed a run in 17 consecutive appearances.

Miguel Tejada's grounder bounced off pitcher Sean Gallagher's right shin for a run-scoring single in the third inning that made it 3-1. Cubs trainers examined Gallagher's leg after the hit, but he remained in the game and appeared to be OK.

Carlos Lee's 10th home run of the year, to the Crawford Boxes in left field, scored Kaz Matsui and Tejada to put Houston on top 4-3.

"Gallagher's got a nice arm," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He's got a better arm than I thought he had. Today he got ahead of hitters a lot, but he couldn't put them away. Of course that breaking ball to Lee is not so bad. Lee makes $100 million doing those sorts of things."

Cooper believes his team is hitting its stride and is improving as the players get more comfortable with each other.

"Early on we were just trying to find out who we are," he said. "Now we know who we are and we're pretty good."

Lance Berkman was hit by a pitch and stole second base before scoring on a single by Geoff Blum that chased Gallagher and pushed the lead to 5-3 in the fifth inning. That steal tied his career-high of nine set in 2004.

He was replaced by Michael Wuertz, who walked two before fanning Chacon for the third out.

In his first career road start, Gallagher (1-1) allowed eight hits and five runs with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

"My execution wasn't there," Gallagher said. "I've got to be able to control myself better."

Chacon, who has a team-high seven quality starts this season, allowed five hits and three runs with five strikeouts and a walk. His 4.11 ERA is the lowest among Astros starters.

Notes

  • Theriot might have had the defensive play of the game when he fell backward into the left field stands to catch a would-be foul ball by Carlos Lee in the first inning.
  • Hoffpauir was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday.
  • Mark DeRosa was 0-for-3 to break his career-high 11 game hitting streak.
  • Derrek Lee's home run was the 249th of his career.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Shawn Chacon endures a three-run first inning before his teammates get him in the win column.  (AP)
Shawn Chacon endures a three-run first inning before his teammates get him in the win column. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

C. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Houston

S. Chacon
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 3
BB 1
K 5
 
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS4010000 .324
Kosuke Fukudome, RF3100101 .305
Derrek Lee, 1B4112010 .301
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3000110 .285
Micah Hoffpauir, LF4120011 .400
Geovany Soto, C4011012 .314
Jim Edmonds, CF3000002 .171
Mark DeRosa, 2B3000021 .305
Sean Gallagher, P2000010 .000
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Jon Lieber, P0000000 .000
   a- Mike Fontenot, PH1000000 .254
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
Totals3135327  
a-grounded out for Lieber in the 8th
Batting
2B - Micah Hoffpauir 2 (2, Chacon, Chacon), Geovany Soto (15, Chacon)
HR - Derrek Lee (11, Chacon)
RBI - Derrek Lee 2 (32), Geovany Soto (34)
2-OUT RBI - Geovany Soto (9)
PK - Ryan Theriot (1, Chacon)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Theriot-DeRosa-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Sean Gallagher (L,1-1) 4.2855141 5.68
Michael Wuertz 0.1000210 3.13
Scott Eyre 1000120 0.00
Jon Lieber 1100000 3.24
Bob Howry 1000030 5.70
HBP - Berkman (by Sean Gallagher)
Pitches-Strikes - Sean Gallagher 96-66, Michael Wuertz 15-6, Scott Eyre 21-10, Jon Lieber 7-6, Bob Howry 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Gallagher 4-6, Jon Lieber 1-1
Batters Faced - Sean Gallagher 24, Michael Wuertz 3, Scott Eyre 4, Jon Lieber 3, Bob Howry 3
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5130020 .208
Kazuo Matsui, 2B2110201 .294
Miguel Tejada, SS4111003 .340
Lance Berkman, 1B3100035 .382
Carlos Lee, LF4113003 .279
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Geoff Blum, 3B4021000 .221
Hunter Pence, RF3000111 .288
J.R. Towles, C3010120 .150
Shawn Chacon, P3000014 .167
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
   a- Darin Erstad, PH-LF1000010 .303
Totals32595410  
a-struck out for Brocail in the 8th
Batting
3B - Michael Bourn (2, Gallagher)
HR - Carlos Lee (10, Gallagher)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (35), Carlos Lee 3 (35), Geoff Blum (13)
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Blum (5)
SB - Michael Bourn (20, 2nd base off Gallagher/Soto), Kazuo Matsui (11, 2nd base off Eyre/Soto), Lance Berkman (9, 2nd base off Gallagher/Soto)
Team LOB - 8
Houston Astros
Shawn Chacon (W,1-0) 7533151 4.11
Doug Brocail (H,9) 1000000 3.08
Jose Valverde (S,14) 1000120 3.60
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Chacon 98-61, Doug Brocail 10-7, Jose Valverde 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Chacon 2-13, Doug Brocail 2-1
Batters Faced - Shawn Chacon 26, Doug Brocail 3, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 33251
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor