The Chicago Cubs are baseball's only team without a three-game winning streak. They'll likely have to provide more help for Matt Garza to finally accomplish the feat.
Garza looks to lead Chicago to its first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field in two years when it meets the Houston Astros on Sunday.The Cubs (41-60) have taken the first two games after winning 4-2 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday -- their first back-to-back victories since June 29 and 30 against San Francisco.Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto homered Saturday to help Chicago win a series for the first time since taking three of four against Milwaukee from June 13-16."Three in a row hasn't happened yet, but we don't look at it that way," Soto said. "We just want to have (good) ballgames and try to get into a rhythm. We've been on and off the whole year and we just want to have a mental breather to just get into rhythm, get everything to click and have everything go our way for a little bit."The Cubs haven't pulled off a series sweep of more than two games at Wrigley since taking three straight versus Cincinnati from July 24-26, 2009.Garza (4-7, 3.80 ERA) arguably has been Chicago's best pitcher over the last month -- aside from a rough outing July 7 at Washington -- though he doesn't have a win to show for it.He's 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in his last four starts, with the loss coming in a 1-0 defeat to the Chicago White Sox on July 2 when he threw a four-hitter.The right-hander has left with the lead after going seven innings in each of his last two starts, with the bullpen faltering each time. Garza didn't allow a run in Chicago's 6-3 loss to Florida on July 14, then gave up only one in a 4-2 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. The bullpen was tagged for a combined 10 runs after he departed."I'm pretty sure these guys aren't (blowing leads) on purpose, that they're out there and want to win just as bad as I do," Garza said.He lost both of his career outings against Houston while pitching for Tampa Bay despite posting a 3.21 ERA and striking out 14. He received a combined two runs of support in 14 innings over those starts.The Astros (33-67), though, have totaled just three runs in the series' first two games. Owner of baseball's worst record, Houston has gone 4-14 in July and has an identical record in its last 18 road games.Carlos Lee went 3 for 4 with an RBI single Saturday and is hitting .340 over his last 14 games. However, of the Astros' last 27 hits, none have been for extra bases."It's tough. Myself, I'm making good contact, but I can't get any elevation on the ball," Lee said. "I don't know how to explain it. We had opportunities to score a lot of runs in these two games but we never come up with the big hits. We need to score runs."Rookie Jordan Lyles (0-5, 4.55) will take another shot at his first victory. The right-hander was deserving of a win when he faced the Cubs in his major league debut May 31, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings in Houston's 7-3 victory.Lyles had his longest outing Monday, going 8 1/3 innings and allowing four runs in a 5-2 loss to Washington.