The Cubs defeated the Astros 8-5 on Thursday night, completing a 2-game sweep of the Astros in Houston. The Cubs are no 4-1 in Houston this season.
Ted Lilly picked up his 4th win of the 2009 campaign – going 6 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. Lilly also had 5 K’s. Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol each worked a scoreless inning of relief.
The Cubs took a 4-2 lead into the top of the 9th inning and were prepared to have closer Kevin Gregg finish off the victory for the Cubs. But in the Cubs half of the inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a 2-run home run – his 2nd homer of the game and his 9th on the season – Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single and Mike Fontenot walked with the bases loaded to increase the Cubs lead to 8-2. So instead of using Gregg, Manager Lou Pinella opted to go with recently called-up reliever Chad Fox. Fox imploded – recording just 1 out and giving up 3 earned runs on 2 hits and a walk. And ultimately, Gregg had to come in to close out the game for the Cubs. Although Gregg did give up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Kaz Matsui and a single to Miguel Tejada, Gregg struck out Lance Berkman to end the game.
The Cubs are now 16-12 on the season, just 2 games behind the 1st place Cardinals. The Cubs open up a weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night. Randy Wells – just called up from the minors to start in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano – will make hist first ever major league start against Dave Bush and the Brewers.