Series: Game 4 of 4

Chi Cubs won 4-0

Game 1: Monday, June 14
Chi Cubs7Final
Game 2: Tuesday, June 15
Chi Cubs4Final
Game 3: Wednesday, June 16
Chi Cubs4Final
Game 4: Thursday, June 17
Chi Cubs5Final

Cubs 5

(37-29, 19-15 away)

Astros 4

(33-32, 15-17 home)

8:05 PM ET, June 17, 2004

Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

123456789 R H E
CHC 100001201 5 13 0
HOU 010001002 4 6 2

W: G. Rusch (4-1)

L: R. Oswalt (4-6)

S: L. Hawkins (8)

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.

A Closer Look
How the Cubs and Astros fared statistically during their four-game series:
  Cubs Astros
Runs 20 9
Hits 43 33
HR 5 2
ERA 2.25 4.25

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press