Rookie Marmol helps Cubs upend 'Stros at home

CHICAGO (AP) -- Despite being 20 games under .500 and with little
to play for in the way of a postseason appearance, Phil Nevin and
the Chicago Cubs haven't quit.

Nevin hit a three-run homer and rookie Carlos Marmol allowed one
run over six innings to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the
Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

The Cubs bounced back from an embarrassing 13-7 loss to the New
York Mets on Sunday night, when they allowed 11 runs in the sixth

"Obviously there is a lot of talk about it," Nevin said of the
perception the Cubs have given up. "But we had some key injuries,
and coming from a different organization to here, you lose your
(No.) one and two starters, guys in the bullpen, and your first
baseman who was a batting champion last year, you just don't
replace those guys, it's impossible. But it's a team that's battled
every day since I have been here and it's been enjoyable."

Marmol (3-3) gave up four hits, walked six and struck out six.

Ryan Dempster pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 15th save
in 20 opportunities.

Chris Burke homered for the Astros, who have lost six of eight
and have matched their season low at four games under .500 (45-49).

"We just have to find a way to start playing more consistent
and put a good string together of wins," Burke said.

The Cubs were trailing 1-0 in the fourth when Michael Barrett
led off with a single. Two outs later, Jacque Jones singled and
Nevin then hit a 2-2 fastball from Houston starter Roy Oswalt for
his eighth homer of the season.

Nevin was traded to the Cubs on May 31 from Texas and has a
total of 17 homers this season. He has homered twice in the last
two games and has driven in five runs.

"That's generally a pitch I feel like, and I think Roy feels
like, we can get him out with," Astros catcher Brad Ausmus said.
"He did a nice job of foiling our plan."

Barrett doubled down the line in left in the fifth, scoring
Ronny Cedeno and giving the Cubs a 4-1 lead. Barrett is 12-for-26
lifetime against Oswalt.

Oswalt (6-7) has gone six straight starts without a win and has
lost his last four decisions, including a loss to St. Louis in
relief on July 8.

Oswalt has had little run support all season. In six of his last
10 starts the Astros have scored two runs or fewer.

"As soon as he hit the home run I thought the game was over,
3-1," Oswalt said. "We have a tough time getting back into the

Marmol escaped trouble when he got Luke Scott to ground out in
the sixth inning with runners on second and third.

"He made the pitches when he needed to and that was a big out
he got there on Scott and it set the bullpen up the way you draw it
up," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Burke homered off reliever Scott Williamson in the seventh.

Marmol gave up a leadoff walk to Lance Berkman in the fourth
inning and Aubrey Huff followed with a triple to right-center,
giving the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Oswalt retired the first eight batters until giving up a two-out
single to Marmol in the third inning. It was Marmol's first major
league hit.

Game notes
Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens are the scheduled starters
for Wednesday's night game. The 300-game winners will face each
other for the third time. They last faced on April 29, 2005, at
Houston with Maddux the winner in Chicago's 3-2 victory. On June 3,
2000, neither was involved in the decision when Clemens was with
the New York Yankees and Maddux was with Atlanta. ... Cedeno made a
diving stop at shortstop and threw out Berkman in the seventh
inning. ... Burke is 10-for-17 in his career at Wrigley Field.