With a four-game losing streak behind them, the Cubs try for a second consecutive victory against the Astros on Sunday in Houston.
Looking to revive a sagging offense, Chicago (25-30) broke out with an 8-5 win over Houston on Saturday. The Cubs, winners in three of nine, had been held to two or fewer runs in six of their previous seven games.
Batting .158 entering Saturday, Aramis Ramirez(notes) homered and recorded his first three-hit game of the season. Marlon Byrd(notes) also had three hits and Derrek Lee(notes), hitting .238, added two as the Cubs tagged Houston ace Roy Oswalt(notes) for six runs in seven innings.
“They can come out any game and put a six-, seven- (or) eight-spot on you,” Oswalt told the Astros’ official website of the Cubs. “If you don’t make quality pitches, you’re not going to get them out.”
Chicago hasn’t enjoyed enough high scoring games in 2010, recording six or more runs 14 times in 55 contests.
Ramirez came through after enduring a 2-for-28 stretch. He’s batting .377 with five homers and 19 RBIs in his last 17 games against Houston (21-35), which had its four-game winning streak snapped.
“Ramirez had a good game, Derrek Lee had a good game,” manager Lou Piniella said. “Let’s hope this is the start of something.”
While the Cubs look for another big effort at the plate, they also could be in good shape with Wells (3-3, 4.40 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has not allowed an earned run in 20 2-3 innings while going 2-0 in three career starts against the Astros.
Wells, however, is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six starts since beating Arizona on April 30.
He was solid in his last outing, giving up three hits in five scoreless innings of a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. It came on two days’ rest after he failed to last an inning in a 7-1 loss to St. Louis on May 28.
“All in all, to bounce back from that horrible start, to get back in the respectable range is pretty satisfying,” Wells told the Cubs’ official website.
Making his first appearance versus the Cubs since 2008, Myers is 7-2 with a 2.66 ERA with five straight wins as a starter against Chicago.
Myers, a right-hander who hasn’t gotten a decision in either of his last two starts overall, allowed four runs and struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings of an 8-7 win over Washington on Monday.
Jeff Keppinger(notes) and Humberto Quintero(notes) each homered Saturday for the Astros, who scored five or more runs for the fourth time in five games but gave up two more than in their previous three combined.
Keppinger is batting .358 in his last 19 games overall, and he’s 6 for 20 against Chicago this season.