|Chi. Cubs (27-49) «||0||1||0||2||0||1||0||0||x||4||9||1|
CHICAGO -- Paul Maholm was eager to finish off one of his best pitching performances of the season. He settled instead for his first win in seven weeks, and that was plenty satisfying.
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"I wanted it obviously. I understand the situation," Maholm said of being pulled in the ninth. "I gave up two hits, but after my last outing, I'll take what I got and go on."
Maholm had given up nine hits and seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings of his previous outing against the Diamondbacks and had been 0-4 in his previous eight outings, although he pitched well enough to win in some of those games.
Friday he mixed his pitches, had good control and worked well with rookie catcher Steve Clevenger, who also hit his first major league homer.
"If you are doubting your pitches or whatever you are not going to be as crisp," Maholm said. "Whether I was throwing the so-called correct pitch, I was aggressive with it. And obviously I've faced those guys a decent amount and kind of know their tendencies."
Maholm (5-6), making 200th major league start, earned his first win since he tossed seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory over Atlanta on May 9. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out six in his 8 1/3 innings.
"My job is to hit the ball hard. I can't place it. I wish I could," said Johnson.
Coming off a tough 7-3 loss to the Padres on Thursday night when they gave up six runs in the ninth, the Astros didn't get into Chicago until 2:20 a.m. and then to their hotel around 3:30 a.m.
"How much sleep we had, no one wants to hear about that," Johnson said, crediting Maholm. "He is one of those guys who really mixes his pitches well."
Jordan Schafer and Matt Downs had the only other hits for Houston against Maholm. Schafer's third-inning single came on a fly ball that fell in front of left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and Downs singled in the eighth.
"The guys made some great plays," Maholm said. "And three homers always helps."
All 15 of Soriano's homers have come since May 15. Clevenger will savor his first. He got the ball, as well.
"To hit a home run in the big leagues, it's a great feeling," he said. "But more important we got the victory and we got the shutout."
Norris allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He came off the disabled list earlier in the day after being sidelines with a sprained left knee. He wanted to go longer after throwing only 87 pitches but manager Brad Mills pulled him.
"Manager made his decision, so I've got to let it be with that," Norris said. "But I felt strong. `'
Houston put the first two men on in the third, but Downs was thrown out at third with Norris attempting to bunt, dousing the rally. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro ended the inning by roaming behind second to flag down Bixler's grounder and throw him out.
Bixler hit a long drive to center in the sixth, but David DeJesus leaped into the ivy to pull it down. The Cubs nearly doubled off Norris, who had walked, but Castro's relay throw was wild past first, allowing Norris to move to third.
|Players of the Game|
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|Brian Bixler, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.250|
|Brian Bogusevic, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.225|
|Carlos Lee, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.290|
|J.D. Martinez, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.231|
|Chris Snyder, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.184|
|Dallas Keuchel, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.275|
|Matt Downs, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.182|
|Jordan Schafer, CF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.236|
|Bud Norris, P||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||.174|
|Fernando Abad, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jed Lowrie, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.261|
|Rhiner Cruz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Abad in the 8th|
|2B - Carlos Lee (12, Maholm)|
|CS - Matt Downs (3, 3rd base by Maholm/Clevenger)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Downs-Lee|
|Bud Norris (L,5-5)||6||7||4||4||1||1||3||4.90|
|Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 87-56, Fernando Abad 11-10, Rhiner Cruz 21-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 5-11, Fernando Abad 2-0, Rhiner Cruz 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Bud Norris 25, Fernando Abad 4, Rhiner Cruz 5|
|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.272|
|Starlin Castro, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.297|
|Anthony Rizzo, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.273|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.274|
|Reed Johnson, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.285|
|Bryan LaHair, RF||4||1||3||0||0||0||2||.288|
|Tony Campana, PR-LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.276|
|Steve Clevenger, C||3||1||1||2||1||0||1||.271|
|Darwin Barney, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.267|
|Luis Valbuena, 3B||3||1||1||1||0||0||0||.234|
|Paul Maholm, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.069|
|Carlos Marmol, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|HR - Alfonso Soriano (15, Norris), Steve Clevenger (1, Norris), Luis Valbuena (3, Norris)|
|RBI - Alfonso Soriano (46), Steve Clevenger 2 (13), Luis Valbuena (10)|
|2-OUT RBI - Luis Valbuena (3)|
|SB - Tony Campana (25, 2nd base off Cruz/Snyder)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Starlin Castro (13, Throwing)|
|Paul Maholm (W,5-6)||8.1||4||0||0||1||6||0||4.84|
|Carlos Marmol (S,6)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||5.40|
|HBP - Downs (by Paul Maholm), Snyder (by Carlos Marmol)|
|WP - Paul Maholm (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 98-67, Carlos Marmol 13-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 9-9|
|Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 30, Carlos Marmol 3|
|Attendance - 32891|
|Game Time - 2:21|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Paul Schrieber|