Oswalt (5-3, 3.11 ERA) was activated from the 15-day DL Tuesday. He was out with a strained left side and is making his first start since May 29 when he pitched six shutout innings, but didn’t receive a decision in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis.
“I feel pretty good. When I get up in the morning, I don’t feel it,” Oswalt said. “It’s been nice to be able to get out of bed without having to roll out.”
Oswalt is 9-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 18 career appearances against the Cubs, and is 4-2 with a 4.20 ERA in eight games at Wrigley Field.
The right-hander has pitched well in his last five starts, but has not won a game since May 3, going 0-2 with a 3.52 ERA in that span. He allowed three or fewer runs in four of those starts, but received just seven runs in support.
Houston (33-32) had little trouble scoring runs Tuesday as it beat the Cubs 9-2 in the series opener. Center fielder Chris Burke was 4-for-4 with five runs scored, tying a club record, to help the Astros record their sixth win in seven games and move over .500 for the first time since May 30.
“Tonight was a fun night,” said Burke, who had three singles and a home run. “I was able to get on base and score some runs. Guys in the middle were swinging the bat great.”
Greg Maddux (7-5, 4.68) looks to stay unbeaten this season at home when he takes the ball for Chicago. The 21-year veteran is 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA in five starts at Wrigley, allowing two or fewer runs in four of those outings.
Maddux allowed two runs and four hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-5 road win over Cincinnati on Friday, and was pulled after just 66 pitches.
“No matter what (manager Dusty Baker) does, he’s right,” Maddux said. “He’s right for taking me out and he’s right for leaving me in.”
The win moved Maddux past Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton into 13th place on the career list, and his next win will give him 326 career victories, tying him with Eddie Plank. Maddux is just 2-5 with a 7.21 ERA in his last eight appearances, and has not won consecutive starts since winning five straight from April 7-28.
The 40-year-old right-hander is 26-12 with a 2.67 ERA in 46 games against the Astros. He also is 7-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 13 career games against Houston at Wrigley Field .
The Cubs (26-37) had their three-game winning streak snapped with Tuesday’s loss to drop to 12-15 at home.