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Houston at Chicago

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Houston (2-9) «020010100462
Chi. Cubs (5-6)000000030391

Astros 4, Cubs 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Watching from the clubhouse as the lead started to shrink, Roy Oswalt began to get that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Then, there was relief.

Oswalt allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings for his first win, J.R. Towles homered, and the Houston Astros hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Saturday.

"I was standing in the corner of the bathroom a few times," Oswalt said. "But [Matt Lindstrom] did a real good job going out there and getting some quick outs, throwing strikes."

The Cubs scored three in the eighth and had the tying run on in the ninth after shortstop Tommy Manzella booted Ryan Theriot's two-out grounder. Theriot went to second on a wild pitch by Lindstrom, but Kosuke Fukudome struck out, giving the Astros their second win in three games after an 0-8 start.

Chicago's Tom Gorzelanny (0-1) gave up two runs in the second and left after being hit in the left arm by Pedro Feliz's line drive in the third. Alfonso Soriano had another tough day in left field, dropping a fly ball.

Towles raised his average from .056 to .182 with three hits and led off the fifth with his first homer. He also drove in two runs and scored twice.

A tough-luck loser in his first two starts, Oswalt (1-2) took sole possession of second place on the Astros' career wins list with his 138th victory and moved ahead of Larry Dierker, his first major league manager. He now trails Joe Niekro by six after striking out six without a walk, mixing a sharp change with his fastball.

"It means a lot," Oswalt said. "Dierk gave me the ball first day and told me, 'Pitch till you can't pitch no more.' It's been a lot of fun."

This, however, was anything but fun.

Brandon Lyon came on in the eighth and gave up a two-run double to left by Aramis Ramirez with one out, making it 4-2. Marlon Byrd then struck out before Soriano doubled down the left-field line to cut the lead to one. Chris Sampson then retired Mike Fontenot on a grounder to second to end the inning.

Lindstrom then converted his first save with a scoreless ninth.

Gorzelanny expects to make his next start against the Mets in New York after Feliz's liner in the third struck just below his pitching shoulder. The ball ricocheted toward first baseman Derrek Lee, who stepped on the bag for the second out.

Gorzelanny stayed in after a visit by the training staff, manager Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, retiring Carlos Lee on a fly to deep left after throwing three warmup pitches. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom half, and Jeff Gray came on in the fourth after Gorzelanny lobbied to stay in.

"I pleaded my case and Lou wasn't having any of that," he said, adding that it was "definitely" the right call.

On a shot like that, he said, "You just hope, no pray, you don't get hit in the face."

Gray allowed one hit in two innings, but it was a line drive by Towles off the left-field foul pole leading off the fifth. The Astros got another run in the seventh when Jeff Keppinger singled in Towles, and that was enough for Oswalt.

Houston finally gave him some run support after failing to score with him in the game during his first two starts.

"He's been throwing the ball well," manager Brad Mills said. "It's good to see him rewarded for it. He made some pitches when he had to and did a good job."

For the Cubs, it was a rough day.

Besides losing Gorzelanny, Soriano was hearing boos again after his latest mishap in the field. He was slow to come in on Jason Michaels' short fly with two out in the fifth and took his eyes "out of the glove" before dropping the ball for his third error of the season, this one coming after he made a neat catch on a liner to left-center the previous day. The double later on wasn't much comfort.

"It's not enough," he said.

Notes

  • The Astros held CF Michael Bourn out of the lineup for precautionary reasons because of a sore groin. He felt a tweak stretching for a ball in Wednesday's game at St. Louis. Bourn, batting .351, had a seven-game hitting streak snapped on Friday.
  • Some Cubs fans serenaded Christopher Mintz-Plasse with a "McLovin" chant after he and several cast members from the movie Kick-Ass sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh-inning stretch. Mintz-Plasse played "McLovin," a nerdy, eccentric character in Superbad.
 
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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Roy Oswalt finally gets a win for his efforts, passing Larry Dierker on the Astros' all-time list.  (Getty Images)
Roy Oswalt finally gets a win for his efforts, passing Larry Dierker on the Astros' all-time list. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

J. Towles
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Jeff Keppinger, 2B4011002 .355
Jason Michaels, CF-LF4000001 .182
Pedro Feliz, 1B4000001 .244
Carlos Lee, LF4110000 .116
    Cory Sullivan, CF0000000 .091
Hunter Pence, RF4010000 .122
Chris Johnson, 3B4101010 .227
Tommy Manzella, SS4000010 .214
J.R. Towles, C4232010 .182
Roy Oswalt, P1000100 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
Totals3346413  
Batting
HR - J.R. Towles (1, Gray)
SH - Roy Oswalt (1)
RBI - Jeff Keppinger (4), Chris Johnson (2), J.R. Towles 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Keppinger (4), J.R. Towles (1)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Pedro Feliz (2, Misplayed grounder), Tommy Manzella (3, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (W,1-2) 7500060 2.37
Brandon Lyon 0.2433010 10.13
Chris Sampson (H,3) 0.1000000 1.17
Matt Lindstrom (S,1) 1000020 4.50
WP - Matt Lindstrom (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 101-67, Brandon Lyon 20-14, Chris Sampson 9-6, Matt Lindstrom 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 7-9, Brandon Lyon 1-0, Chris Sampson 1-0, Matt Lindstrom 2-0
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 27, Brandon Lyon 6, Chris Sampson 1, Matt Lindstrom 4
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS5010011 .261
Kosuke Fukudome, RF5110022 .306
Derrek Lee, 1B4110021 .324
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4112000 .163
Marlon Byrd, CF4000021 .200
Alfonso Soriano, LF4021010 .286
Mike Fontenot, 2B4010001 .333
Geovany Soto, C4020012 .261
Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000 .000
   a- Chad Tracy, PH1000000 .143
    Jeff Gray, P0000000 .000
   b- Carlos Zambrano, PH1000001 .000
    Justin Berg, P0000000 .000
   c- Tyler Colvin, PH1000002 .250
    James Russell, P0000000 .000
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
   d- Xavier Nady, PH1000000 .308
Totals3839309  
a-flied out for Gorzelanny in the 3rd
b-grounded out for Gray in the 5th
c-flied out for Berg in the 7th
d-grounded out for Marshall in the 9th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (1, Lyon), Aramis Ramirez (2, Lyon), Alfonso Soriano (4, Lyon), Geovany Soto (1, Oswalt)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (8), Alfonso Soriano (3)
2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Alfonso Soriano (3, Dropped fly)
Chicago Cubs
Tom Gorzelanny (L,0-1) 3322100 1.93
Jeff Gray 2111001 9.00
Justin Berg 2211000 6.23
James Russell 1000000 0.00
Sean Marshall 1000030 1.29
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 40-23, Jeff Gray 28-17, Justin Berg 39-26, James Russell 6-6, Sean Marshall 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 5-4, Jeff Gray 5-2, Justin Berg 2-4, James Russell 1-2
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 13, Jeff Gray 8, Justin Berg 8, James Russell 3, Sean Marshall 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40471
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 48
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Chris Guccione, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - Brian O'Nora