HOUSTON -- It's certainly too soon to know how much hitting coach Jeff Bagwell can help improve the Houston Astros offense.
He already appears to be having an affect on Carlos Lee.
Lee hit two home runs, including the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning, and the Astros went on to an 8-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
"I had a good day," Lee said. "Me and [Bagwell] were talking about taking a two-strike approach, spread out a little and see what happens, and it was successful."
Bagwell, the former Houston All-Star, was named hitting coach July 11 after Sean Berry was fired. Lee is hitting .239 this season with 14 home runs and 52 RBI and Wednesday was his first multihomer game in almost three years.
The game was tied at 1 before Lee connected for his 13th homer of the year, a two-run shot to left field. His second one, also to left field, scored Lance Berkman and pushed the lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning.
"It was good to see Lance continue to swing the bat well, and Carlos, once you get those guys going, it's a different story," Houston manager Brad Mills said.
Astros starter Bud Norris (3-7) allowed four hits, an unearned run and struck out seven in six innings for his first win since May 13.
"The big thing I was happy about Bud is he didn't let those innings get away from him," Mills said. "In the first inning, he was able to stop it at one run. That's one thing that's been a struggle for him."
Hunter Pence added three hits and drove in a pair of runs for Houston.
The Astros had managed just one hit before the sixth inning. Berkman walked before Pence hit a double that landed in the left field corner and scored Berkman to tie it 1-1.
Then came Lee's homer that scored Pence and gave Houston the lead.
Cubs starter Randy Wells (5-8) had pitched 19 consecutive scoreless innings before Pence's RBI. Wells allowed five hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He was replaced by James Russell, who got one out.
"I was able to make pitches for a while there but ran out of luck I guess," Wells said. "I made some pitches to get out of some innings, but I put myself in a lot of trouble [with] five walks."
Ryan Theriot singled to lead off the first inning before Starlin Castro reached on an error. Norris walked Tyler Colvin to load the bases before a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez scored Theriot and made it 1-0.
Wells didn't allow a hit until a single by Pence with one out in the fourth inning. He got out of that inning unscathed by retiring Lee before Chris Johnson grounded into a force out and rookie Jason Castro struck out.
Jason Bourgeois hit his first career triple in the eighth inning and scored on a single by Angel Sanchez to make it 6-1. Pence stretched the lead to 7-1 with a run-scoring single later in that inning and Berkman also scored in the eighth on a wild pitch.
Norris was hobbled for a couple of minutes in the fifth inning when he jumped and landed on first base awkwardly while making a tag. His right foot seemed to be bothering him, but he remained in the game after talking to team trainers for a bit.
Johnson, a rookie, singled in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
- Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will travel to Denver on Thursday and join the team Friday before Chicago's series with the Rockies. Piniella said Zambrano will address the team in a meeting before Friday's game in his return after a dugout argument with Derrek Lee more than a month ago. Lee said he's looking forward to Zambrano's return. "It will be good to put it behind us," he said. "I really don't think it's going to be a big issue. We'll welcome him back and move on." He hopes that Zambrano apologizes to the team. "We're looking forward to the apology," he said. "I think that's what needs to happen."
- Chicago C Geovany Soto was out of the lineup for the second straight day after leaving Monday's game in the sixth inning after fouling a ball off his left foot. He has a bruised foot, but Piniella said he should be ready to play Friday.
- Houston RHP Jeff Fulchino, on the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, gave up two hits in a scoreless inning in his second rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday.
- Astros INF Geoff Blum, on the disabled list after arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, could begin a rehabilitation assignment on Sunday.