The Houston Astros defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Sunday afternoon. Brian Moehler picked up his 1st win on the season for the Astros while Rich Harden suffered his 2nd loss on the season. Save for the deadly 4th inning, Harden pitched a good game – 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, with 7 K’s. In the 4th inning, however, Lance Berkman doubled to lead off the inning on scored on Miguel Tejada’s 1-out double. After Harden struck out Hunter Pence for the 2nd out of the inning, it look like Harden might get out of the jam with minimal damage. But Geoff Blum singled home Tejada and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez gave the Astros a 4-2 lead with a 2-run bomb to deep center field.
The game was still close – 4-3 – until Jose Ascansio imploded in the 7th inning. Ascansio hit Kaz Matsui and Michael Bourn to start the inning. Lance Berkman drove Matsui home with a single to right field and then Bourn scored another insurance run on an Ascansio wild pitch. Bourn’s run proved to be extremely important as the Cubs rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning on an Alfonso Soriano HR and a Milton Bradley, but it was too little too late.
The biggest positive to take away from the game – the hitting of Derrek Lee. Lee went 4 for 5, including a double and a home run. He had 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored, as his batting average increased to .226. Could this be a legit return of Lee’s swing and power hitting. Time will tell, but if Lee gets in the zone soon, the Cubs could start to put together a nice little winning streak very very soon…
The Cubs now trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 1.5 games in the NL Central race. The Cubs are 21-15 and begin a 6-game road trip to St. Louis and San Diego on Tuesday.