Series: Game 1 of 4

Houston leads 1-0 (as of 8/11)

Game 1: Monday, August 11
Chi Cubs1
Game 2: Tuesday, August 12
Chi Cubs3
Game 3: Wednesday, August 13
Chi Cubs6
Game 4: Thursday, August 14
Chi Cubs7

Astros 3

(64-54, 28-31 away)

Cubs 1

(60-57, 28-30 home)

    8:05 PM ET, August 11, 2003

    Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000020001 3 8 2
    CHC 000001000 1 7 0

    W: W. Miller (9-10)

    L: K. Wood (11-9)

    S: B. Wagner (34)

    Kent's two-run double sparks Astros in win

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Jeff Kent again delivered against Kerry Wood, sending the Houston Astros to a victory in the opener of a crucial four-game series.

    Kent hit a two-run double, and Houston got strong pitching from Wade Miller and two relievers as the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 Monday night.

    "You just try to get as many scrape runs as you can because he's not going to give you very many," said Kent, who went 1-for-4 and is now 11-for-23 with 12 RBI in his career against Wood.

    "He's a heck of a pitcher. We had to have our `A' game against him today," Kent added.

    Craig Biggio homered for the Astros, who maintained their two-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central after the Cardinals beat the Pirates 6-4. The third-place Cubs fell 3{ back.

    Miller (9-10) gave up five hits and a run in six innings, striking out nine. Octavio Dotel pitched two scoreless innings, and Billy Wagner worked the ninth for his 34th save in 37 chances.

    "It gets your blood flowing to face a top pitcher like that," Miller said. "You try to minimize their runs because you know he's going to pitch well."

    Wood (11-9) allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings. He also struck out nine, reaching 1,000 career strikeouts in his 134th game -- faster than any major league pitcher.

    "I got outpitched. This means nothing right now," Wood said of his strikeouts. "We're chasing a pennant and we lost a big game."

    Kent became the 1,000th strikeout victim in the seventh, but wasn't fazed.

    "I heard about it, but what's the big deal if he's got 999 versus 1,000?" Kent said. "I don't think it matters."

    Kent, broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. After singles by Geoff Blum and Jeff Bagwell, he drove a ball over Doug Glanville's head in center.

    Sammy Sosa doubled in the sixth, moved to third on a single by Aramis Ramirez and scored on an RBI single by Eric Karros.

    Biggio's 10th homer, a drive off Kyle Farnsworth that hit the left-field foul pole, made it 3-1 in the ninth.

    Brad Ausmus had three hits for the Astros.

    Game notes

    Cubs SS Augie Ojeda stayed in the game after colliding with Doug Glanville as they chased Ausmus's bloop double in the sixth. Ojeda started in place of slumping Alex Gonzalez, who struck out looking as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and is in a 2-for-46 slide. ... Kenny Lofton sat out with a jammed right wrist. ... In his last appearance at Wrigley Field on May 30, Miller pitched a two-hitter and struck out 14. ... According to research historian Ed Hartig, Roger Clemens needed 143 games to reach 1,000 strikeouts, Dwight Gooden 145 and Hideo Nomo 147. Nomo got 1,000 strikeouts in 927 2-3 innings, Sam McDowell in 932 2-3 and Pedro Martinez in 933 2-3. It took Wood 853 innings. Wood also reached 200 strikeouts in a season for the fourth time. ... Houston RF Richard Hidalgo made a heads-up play in the eighth. After dropping Ramirez's fly ball for an error, he picked the ball up quickly and threw to first to catch Ramirez, who had strayed too far off the bag.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press