Chicago (35-29) at Houston (33-30)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Jun 16, 2004
  • TV: ESPN, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If history is any indication, Greg Maddux has an excellent chance to earn his 295th career win on Wednesday night.

Maddux will look to move a step closer to 300 wins when he takes the mound against the Houston Astros in the third game of their four-game series at Minute Maid Park.

In his 19th season, Maddux is 23-9 with a 2.54 ERA and 10 complete games against the Astros. The four-time Cy Young Award winner has already beaten Houston once this season, holding the Astros to one run and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-1 victory on May 31.

Maddux should be eager to get back on track following a 3-2 loss to Anaheim on Friday. The 38-year-old right-hander pitched well, allowing three runs and seven hits over seven innings, but was beaten by the Angels’ John Lackey.

“Greg threw the ball outstanding,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “These one-run games are killing us.”

The Cubs have taken the first two games of this series and five straight overall, all without Sammy Sosa’s big bat in the lineup.

Sosa has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a sprained ligament in his lower back brought on by two sneezes.

He struck out in his only at-bat Tuesday night in a rehabilitation start for Double-A West Tenn, a game called because of rain. Sosa started in the outfield for the Diamond Jaxx for the first time. He was the designated hitter Sunday and Monday, and finished his minor league stint 2-for-7 with a single and a double.

“I think those two games that I played here are going to help me,” Sosa said. “I’ll go back to the major leagues Friday and be ready for any team. I’m in shape, feel great.”

Sosa plans to practice at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and said he will be examined by a team doctor Thursday before playing against Oakland on Friday.

The Cubs got a two-run single from Ramon Martinez to cap a three-run ninth inning in a 4-2 win on Tuesday.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez also had an RBI single in the ninth off closer Octavio Dotel, who blew his third save in 15 chances.

The Astros’ ninth-inning collapse gave them four losses in five games.

“It’s just something we’re going through,” second baseman Craig Biggio said. “We’ve got to turn it around and get on a roll.”

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Starting Pitchers

G. Maddux LAD vs. T. Redding Tor
16-11 Record 5-7
4.02 ERA 5.72
151 K 56
33 BB 43
1.18 WHIP 1.67