Chicago at Houston

Final 13th
Chi. Cubs
W: J. Fulchino (2-1) L: J. Ascanio (0-1)
HR: CHC - D. Lee (7)   HOU - None

Blum singles in winning run in 13th to lift Astros over Cubs wire reports

HOUSTON -- Geoff Blum beat the Houston Astros with a home run in the 2005 World Series when he played for the Chicago White Sox.

Now, he's delivered game-winning hits for the Astros on consecutive days.

Blum singled to down the right-field line off Jose Ascanio in the 13th inning on Thursday to score Hunter Pence and lift the Astros to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

On Wednesday, Blum singled with the bases loaded in the ninth to lift Houston to another 2-1 victory over the Cubs.

The third baseman is the first Houston player with winning hits in back-to-back games since Derek Bell did it on July 20-21, 1996, against Atlanta.

"I'm not sure the technical term, but deja vu is something that happens over and over," Blum said. "Right now, it happened twice. It feels good. It's just nice to win."

Derrek Lee homered for the Cubs with one out in the ninth, but the Cubs mustered only six hits and stranded eight runners.

Chicago scored three runs or fewer for the eighth time in 12 games and frustrated manager Lou Piniella says he has not solution for his team's offensive doldrums.

"They're going to have to find it," he said. "It sounds cruel, it sounds harsh, but it's reality. What am I going to do? Just keep running them out there and hope it gets better. That's all you can do."

Ascanio (0-1) set down the Astros in order in the 12th, then walked Pence with one out in the 13th. Jason Michaels struck out, with Pence stealing second on the last pitch.

Ascanio intentionally walked Lance Berkman, who's sitting on 299 career homers, before Blum delivered again. The Astros poured out of the dugout and mobbed Blum near first base for the second straight night.

"That's one that makes me jump up and down," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "I don't usually do that. I usually stay pretty calm, but that was a great win."

Jeff Fulchino (2-1) pitched three scoreless innings. The Astros won for the eighth time in 11 games and now start a nine-game road trip, their longest of the season.

Houston starter Russ Ortiz pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five to preserve a 1-0 lead. Ortiz, usually a middle reliever, was making his first start since May 7.

The Houston bullpen allowed only one walk in three innings before Lee tied it with his home run off LaTroy Hawkins. Fulchino allowed only one hit after that.

"It was just an all-out bullpen effort today," said Ortiz.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead off Ryan Dempster in the first inning. Michael Bourn opened with a double, Miguel Tejada singled and Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly.

Ortiz allowed only two hits through the first five innings, and the Astros finished two of those innings with double plays.

Chicago had two runners aboard in the sixth. Ortiz struck out Ryan Theriot before Houston manager Cecil Cooper brought in reliever Tim Byrdak, who struck out Kosuke Fukudome. Alberto Arias replaced Byrdak and got Lee on a grounder.

"When we had chances, we're swinging at bad pitches out of the [strike] zone, we can't make contact," Piniella said. "Come on. This is major league baseball. I know the game isn't the easiest in the world to play, because I played it for a long time. But it's not this hard, come on."

Micah Hoffpauir led off the seventh with a drive to Tal's Hill in deep center. Bourn backtracked up the incline, fell down and made the catch while almost lying on his back.

"I just reacted," Bourn said. "My ability helped me out that time."

Dempster allowed just five hits -- two by Ortiz -- between the second and seventh.

Chris Sampson, who threw two scoreless innings to earn the win on Wednesday, relieved Arias in the eighth and retired the Cubs in order.

Hawkins started the ninth for the Astros. After Fukudome grounded out, Lee drove a 1-2 pitch into the right-field seats, his seventh home run of the season.


  • The Cubs went to extra innings for the fifth time in eight games.
  • Ortiz has thrown 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest stretch by an Astros pitcher this season.
  • Tejada has 1,999 career hits.
  • Cubs starters have thrown at least six innings in eithght straight games.
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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Hunter Pence, who is left on base five times, celebrates his winning trip home in the 13th inning.  (AP)
Hunter Pence, who is left on base five times, celebrates his winning trip home in the 13th inning. (AP)

Players of the Game

G. Blum
AB 6
R 0
H 3
HR 0

D. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, LF5010101 .236
Ryan Theriot, SS4000032 .283
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   a- Reed Johnson, PH1000002 .272
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
    Bobby Scales, 2B1000010 .228
Kosuke Fukudome, CF5000122 .285
Derrek Lee, 1B4111103 .269
Micah Hoffpauir, RF5010012 .266
Mike Fontenot, 3B4010111 .247
Koyie Hill, C3000012 .246
   b- Milton Bradley, PH1010000 .215
    Geovany Soto, C1000000 .219
Andres Blanco, 2B-SS4000021 .219
Ryan Dempster, P1010100 .107
   c- Aaron Miles, PH-2B3000001 .200
    Jose Ascanio, P0000000 .000
a-fouled out for Marmol in the 10th
b-singled for Hill in the 10th
c-grounded out for Dempster in the 8th
HR - Derrek Lee (7, Hawkins)
SH - Andres Blanco (3)
RBI - Derrek Lee (25)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Blanco-Miles-Lee
E - Andres Blanco (1, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Dempster 7711040 3.87
Carlos Marmol 2000110 3.41
Kevin Gregg 2300010 4.28
Jose Ascanio (L,0-1) 1.2111220 2.92
IBB - Berkman by Jose Ascanio
Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Dempster 102-66, Carlos Marmol 30-18, Kevin Gregg 35-24, Jose Ascanio 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Dempster 5-11, Carlos Marmol 1-4, Kevin Gregg 5-0, Jose Ascanio 2-1
Batters Faced - Ryan Dempster 27, Carlos Marmol 7, Kevin Gregg 9, Jose Ascanio 8
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF6110023 .290
Miguel Tejada, SS6010002 .350
Hunter Pence, RF5100115 .329
Carlos Lee, LF2001000 .315
    Jason Michaels, LF3000020 .170
Lance Berkman, 1B4020211 .253
Geoff Blum, 3B6031012 .273
Ivan Rodriguez, C5000013 .251
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5010000 .262
Russ Ortiz, P2020000 .286
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
    Alberto Arias, P0000000 .000
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1000000 .130
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- Matt Kata, PH1010000 .111
    Jeff Fulchino, P1000000 .000
a-grounded out for Arias in the 7th
b-singled for Hawkins in the 10th
2B - Michael Bourn (13, Dempster), Lance Berkman (11, Dempster)
SF - Carlos Lee (4)
RBI - Carlos Lee (39), Geoff Blum (18)
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Blum (6)
SB - Hunter Pence (7, 2nd base off Ascanio/Soto)
CS - Jeff Keppinger (2, 2nd base by Dempster/Hill)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Tejada-Keppinger-Berkman, Tejada-Keppinger-Berkman
Houston Astros
Russ Ortiz 5.1300350 3.48
Tim Byrdak (H,3) 0.1000010 3.63
Alberto Arias (H,4) 1.1000110 3.07
Chris Sampson (H,9) 1000010 1.66
LaTroy Hawkins (BS,3) 2211111 2.70
Jeff Fulchino (W,2-1) 3100020 2.77
IBB - Soriano by LaTroy Hawkins
Pitches-Strikes - Russ Ortiz 92-58, Tim Byrdak 5-3, Alberto Arias 21-11, Chris Sampson 9-6, LaTroy Hawkins 35-24, Jeff Fulchino 36-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Russ Ortiz 7-2, Alberto Arias 2-1, Chris Sampson 2-0, LaTroy Hawkins 3-2, Jeff Fulchino 3-4
Batters Faced - Russ Ortiz 20, Tim Byrdak 1, Alberto Arias 5, Chris Sampson 3, LaTroy Hawkins 9, Jeff Fulchino 10
Game Information
Attendance - 34250
Game Time - 4:08
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Paul Schrieber