CHICAGO (AP) -- Even with a little extra work, the Houston Astros
bullpen was as dominant as ever.
Five relievers combined to shut out Chicago over six innings,
and pinch-hitter Michael Lamb lined a late go-ahead double to lead
Houston over the Cubs 5-3 Tuesday night.
Dan Miceli (2-2) and Mike Gallo both got out of a bases-loaded
jams without surrendering a run as the bullpen combined to strike
out eight and walk two. Miceli pitched two hitless innings, Brad
Lidge pitched the eighth and Octavio Dotel earned his eighth save.
"When you have the bases loaded twice, nobody out and you get
out of it without a run, that just tells you how well we pitched,"
Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "Everybody contributed. They
They also got a big break on a Cubs blunder in the eighth.
With two outs and the score 3-3, Brad Ausmus hit a weak grounder
to second base that looked like it would end the inning. But Todd
Walker's throw sailed wide of first baseman Derrek Lee, pulling him
off the bag to put runners on first and second.
Lamb then lined an RBI double into left-center off Kyle
Farnsworth (0-3) for the go-ahead run.
"We had one of those games where it could have gone on for a
while," Craig Biggio said. "That was a great piece of hitting by
The 6-foot-5 Lee said it shouldn't have gotten that far.
Lee said he was certain his foot was on the bag for Walker's
throw, adding that umpire Mike Fichter didn't get a good look at
"He was out. (Fichter) said I came off the base. I didn't think
I did," Lee said. "I think he had a bad angle. He was over on the
Biggio was hit by a pitch leading off the game and scored on
Jeff Bagwell's ninth homer. It was the ninth time this season that
Biggio has been hit by a pitch -- second best in the majors.
Hollandsworth homered in the second, but Jeff Kent made it 3-1
in the third with a deep shot to left that Moises Alou didn't even
turn to watch as it sailed onto Waveland Avenue.
Kent extended his hitting streak to 17 games, the longest of his
career and the best in Houston since Lance Berkman hit safely in 18
consecutive games last year.
The Astros bullpen has been dependable most of the season, even
though Dotel has blown two of 10 save chances and lost three games
already. Houston relievers had allowed a major league-low 13
percent of inherited runners to score entering the game.
They were outstanding against the Cubs.
Chicago came up empty with the bases loaded in the fourth and
again in the sixth inning.
In the fourth, Gallo relieved starter Brandon Duckworth and
struck out Corey Patterson on four pitches. He got out of the jam
when Ramon Martinez tried to check his swing but couldn't, sending
a dribbler to the mound for an easy double play.
"That was huge to come in with the bases loaded, nobody out and
keep them from scoring any runs. That was the difference in the
ballgame," Lamb said.
Duckworth allowed three runs and four hits in three-plus
innings. He was pulled after throwing just 48 pitches.
Chicago had the bases full again in the sixth when Miceli forced
Lee to pop out to short right before striking out Patterson and
Patterson stranded six runners and was 1-for-4 with three
strikeouts. After striking out with the bases loaded for a second
time, Patterson walked slowly to the dugout and was greeted by loud
"It looked like we didn't want to be overanxious with two
strikes, then they'd paralyze us with fastballs away," Cubs
manager Dusty Baker said. "What else can I say? I wish we would
have scored some more runs."
Bagwell moved into a tie with Frank Thomas for 32nd on the
career homer list with 428, three shy of Cal Ripken. ... Chicago's
10-game homestand is its the longest of the season. ... No
timetable was given for the return of starter Andy Pettitte, who
was placed on the DL Monday with a left forearm strain. ... Adam
Everett laid down his major league-leading 15th sacrifice bunt in
the first. ... Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano turned 23 on Tuesday.
... Gallo has not allowed a run in 17 of 19 outings this season.