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Chicago at Houston

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Chi. Cubs (55-86) «0100012004110
Houston (44-97)000100000160

Cubs 4, Astros 1

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- With 21 games left in this dreadful season, the Chicago Cubs are eyeing a magic number.

No, not the number playoff contending teams are looking at to seal their trip to the postseason. With 86 losses, this club is determined to avoid becoming the first Cubs team to lose 100 games since 1966.

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On Monday night they moved a bit closer to that goal with a 4-1 win over the Houston Astros -- owners of the only record in baseball worse than theirs.

Dave Sappelt scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and had three RBI to lead the team to the victory.

"Oh yeah, we count down every day -- our magic number to not get 100," Sappelt said. "So we definitely have that in the back of our minds."

Sappelt, who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Sept. 1, drove in his first run for the Cubs with a double to the left field corner to put Chicago up 1-0 in the second inning.

The game was tied 1-all in the sixth before Sappelt scored on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodriguez (1-10) that bounced in the dirt and rolled between catcher Jason Castro's legs.

Sappelt came through again in the seventh, knocking a double off the wall in center field just short of the home run line to score a pair of insurance runs.

The Cubs won their fourth straight, matching their season high.

"Those guys are starting to understand how close that 100 losses is," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's the goal. That's the talk now and obviously they're responding now."

Justin Maxwell tripled on a ball that rolled up onto Tal's Hill in center field to start Houston's fourth. Castro tied it at 1 with a single to right field on a night when the Astros played with Minute Maid Park's retractable roof open for the first time since May 9.

Chicago starter Chris Volstad (3-10) allowed four hits and a run in five innings for his first win on the road in eight starts this season. Carlos Marmol gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth for his 19th save.

Volstad is 3-3 since being recalled from Iowa on Aug. 1.

"I feel like since I've come back I've been a different pitcher, starting with that L.A. game," he said. "I feel good. I've just got to continue it and keep it going - that whole consistency thing."

This was an ugly game which included 14 walks, two hit batters, three wild pitches and 24 left on base. By the time the 3 hour, 50 minute game ended, there were only few hundred fans left and most of them were chanting, "Let's go Cubbies!"

"It seemed like there was a 2-hour rain delay. It was kind of funny how long it took," Sveum said.

The Cubs missed several chances to score before finally taking the lead. Welington Castillo got things going in the fourth inning with a single to center field. Volstad singled with two outs before Joe Mather singled to left. Castillo raced toward home on the play, but left fielder J.D. Martinez's throw beat him to the plate to end the inning.

Houston starter Dallas Keuchel was lifted for Chuckie Fick in the fifth inning and he allowed a single by Darwin Barney before plunking Anthony Rizzo. His defense helped him out when the Astros turned a double play on a ball hit by Alfonso Soriano that left Barney at third. Fick intentionally walked Starlin Castro, but escaped the jam by striking out Castillo.

The Astros also missed opportunities in this one. Jimmy Paredes hit a stand-up triple to the corner of right field to start the fifth inning before two walks left the bases loaded with two outs. The Astros came away empty when Matt Dominguez grounded out.

"We had opportunities in the first and the fifth," Maxwell said. "We had [Volstad] on the ropes all night, but we weren't able to push many across."

Houston interim manager Tony DeFrancesco was disappointed that his team didn't capitalize on its chances.

"I'm glad the guys are getting opportunities to prove they are major league hitters, but at some point, the guys have to be accountable for their at-bats and try to grind them out," he said.

Keuchel yielded six hits and a run with two walks in four innings in his first start since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Notes

The Astros released RHP Francisco Cordero and purchased the contract of RHP Enerio Del Rosario before Monday's game. ... These teams continue the series on Tuesday when Houston's Jordan Lyles opposes Justin Germano.

 
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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Players of the Game
Chicago

D. Sappelt
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Houston

J. Maxwell
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Joe Mather, CF-LF5020004 .215
Darwin Barney, 2B4020100 .257
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4000013 .295
Alfonso Soriano, LF3000201 .258
    Tony Campana, CF0000000 .263
Starlin Castro, SS4120112 .282
Welington Castillo, C3210223 .278
Josh Vitters, 3B4010012 .093
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
Dave Sappelt, RF5123003 .200
Chris Volstad, P2010002 .167
   a- Bryan LaHair, PH1000011 .256
    Miguel Socolovich, P0000000 .000
    James Russell, P0000000 .000
   b- Adrian Cardenas, PH0000100 .220
    Jaye Chapman, P0000000 .000
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
    Luis Valbuena, 3B0000000 .222
Totals35411376  
a-struck out for Volstad in the 6th
b-was walked intentionally for Russell in the 7th
Batting
2B - Starlin Castro (24, Ambriz), Dave Sappelt 2 (2, Keuchel, Ambriz)
RBI - Dave Sappelt 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Dave Sappelt 3 (3)
SB - Starlin Castro (24, 2nd base off Cruz/Castro)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Barney-Castro-Rizzo
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Volstad (W,3-10) 5411540 5.99
Miguel Socolovich (H,1) 0.2000100 5.79
James Russell (H,11) 0.1000000 3.48
Jaye Chapman (H,2) 1100020 0.00
Shawn Camp (H,15) 1000100 3.62
Carlos Marmol (S,19) 1100020 3.88
WP - Chris Volstad (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Volstad 99-56, Miguel Socolovich 12-5, James Russell 7-4, Jaye Chapman 12-9, Shawn Camp 9-4, Carlos Marmol 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Volstad 8-3, Miguel Socolovich 2-0, Jaye Chapman 1-0, Shawn Camp 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Volstad 24, Miguel Socolovich 3, James Russell 1, Jaye Chapman 4, Shawn Camp 3, Carlos Marmol 4
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jimmy Paredes, 2B5010011 .191
Fernando Martinez, RF4020101 .235
Brett Wallace, 1B4000124 .275
Justin Maxwell, CF4120024 .236
Jason Castro, C3011113 .260
Matt Dominguez, 3B3000104 .326
J.D. Martinez, LF3000101 .238
Tyler Greene, SS3000112 .229
Dallas Keuchel, P0000100 .063
   a- Brandon Laird, PH1000012 .333
    Chuckie Fick, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Xavier Cedeno, P0000000 .000
   b- Brandon Barnes, PH1000000 .175
    Hector Ambriz, P0000000 .000
    Rhiner Cruz, P0000000 .000
   c- Brian Bogusevic, PH1000000 .208
Totals3216178  
a-struck out for Keuchel in the 4th
b-grounded out for Cedeno in the 6th
c-flied out for Cruz in the 9th
Batting
3B - Jimmy Paredes (1, Volstad), Justin Maxwell (3, Volstad)
RBI - Jason Castro (23)
SB - Justin Maxwell (7, 2nd base off Chapman/Castillo)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - J.D. Martinez 1
DP - Fick-Paredes-Wallace, Dominguez-Castro-Wallace
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Keuchel 4611210 5.35
Chuckie Fick 1100110 4.32
Fernando Rodriguez (L,1-10) 0.2111110 5.74
Xavier Cedeno 0.1000010 4.74
Hector Ambriz 2222300 6.00
Rhiner Cruz 1100020 6.66
IBB - Castro by Chuckie Fick, Castillo by Hector Ambriz, by Cardenas
HBP - Rizzo (by Chuckie Fick), Vitters (by Fernando Rodriguez)
WP - Dallas Keuchel (2), Fernando Rodriguez (10)
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Keuchel 82-46, Chuckie Fick 19-10, Fernando Rodriguez 24-15, Xavier Cedeno 3-3, Hector Ambriz 34-14, Rhiner Cruz 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Keuchel 7-3, Chuckie Fick 1-0, Fernando Rodriguez 1-0, Hector Ambriz 3-2, Rhiner Cruz 1-0
Batters Faced - Dallas Keuchel 19, Chuckie Fick 5, Fernando Rodriguez 5, Xavier Cedeno 1, Hector Ambriz 10, Rhiner Cruz 4
Game Information
Attendance - 13121
Game Time - 3:50
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Doug Eddings