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First four-game Astros sweep since '67

HOUSTON (AP) -- Even Glendon Rusch is surprised how far he has
come since last season.

Rusch pitched eight strong innings, Moises Alou drove in three
runs and the Chicago Cubs beat the Houston Astros 5-4 on Thursday
night for their sixth straight win.

Rusch (4-1) allowed only two runs on four hits and struck out
seven. He was 1-12 with Milwaukee last season and spent most of
this spring in Texas' camp before signing a minor league contract
with the Cubs on April 1.

Rusch was called up to the majors on April 30, but still didn't
expect to pitch much.

"I don't think I envisioned getting a chance to start at
first," Rusch said. "I thought I'd just be in the bullpen. But
under the circumstances, with our starters not healthy, I got the
chance. Obviously, we want our starters all back, but I'm glad I've
been able to help."

So is manager Dusty Baker.

"I guess you'd say he has had as good a turnaround as you could
find anywhere," Baker said. "He was kind of at the end of his
rope it seemed. But he has been great for us."

The Astros might have helped Rusch with their anemic hitting.
Houston has scored only 23 runs its last 10 games, and five of
those came in one win.

"If we don't pick it up, we'll be out of it before the All-Star
break," said starter Roy Oswalt (4-6). "A slump is a slump. If we
don't come out of it we'll be out of it before we get started.

Oswalt, who allowed four runs on 11 hits and two walks in seven
innings, thinks he and his teammates are pressing after they lost
their fourth straight and six of the last seven.

"There's no doubt," Oswalt said. "I think everybody is
pressing. We're not getting the big hit or making the big pitch.
We've got to pick it up or it will be too late."

Houston is 3-8 in the last two weeks.

"It's been a frustrating couple of weeks," Jeff Bagwell said.
"Sometimes when you think you have hit rock bottom, you really
haven't. Obviously, I'm frustrated with the way I'm hitting. But
it's not about me. Things will come around for me, but it's about
the team and when things will come around for us."

Earlier in the day, the Astros traded outfielder Richard Hidalgo
to the New York Mets for right-handers David Weathers and Jeremy
Griffiths.

Corey Patterson had two doubles and a triple, and Derrek Lee
drove in two runs in Chicago's first four-game sweep of the Astros
since June 23-25, 1967, and the first in Houston.

LaTroy Hawkins gave up Jason Lane's first homer of the season --
a two-run shot -- in the ninth with two outs before finishing for
his eighth save in 11 chances.

With the game tied at 2 in the seventh, Patterson hit a two-out
double off Oswalt and scored on Alou's bloop single to
right-center. Todd Hollandsworth followed with a single to put
runners on first and third, and Lee added an RBI single to make it
4-2. Hollandsworth tried to score from first on the hit, but was
thrown out at home.

The Astros added another run in the ninth on Alou's RBI single.

Patterson hit a leadoff triple, and scored when Alou singled to
left.

Alou's RBI single gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first.

Houston tied it on a sacrifice fly RBI by Eric Bruntlett in the
second.

Lee doubled in Todd Hollandsworth for a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

Lance Berkman's 16th homer -- his third batting right-handed --
tied it again in the bottom of the sixth.

Game notes
It's the first time Chicago has won six in a row on the
road since the 1991 season, when they won six over parts of three
road trips (May 22-23, May 31-June 2 and June 14). ... It was also
the first Cubs sweep of Houston since 1989, when they took three
May 22-24. ... The 41,397 in attendance represented the Astros'
11th sellout of the season. ... Houston pitchers have struck out a
major league-best 538 batters this season. ... Manager Jimy
Williams is still one short of his 900th career win.