Feliz hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th inning after Geoff Blum tied it with an RBI double in the ninth, and the Houston Astros rallied to beat the Cubs 3-2 on Sunday.
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"I guess we saved our best at-bats for late in the game," Jason Michaels said. "These guys have a great bullpen, they have a great team. We were able to grind it out and hold them."Tim Brydak (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the victory as Houston won its first series since taking two out of three from Pittsburgh Sept. 11-13, 2009.Michaels led off the 10th inning with a pinch-hit double off Cubs reliever Sean Marshall (0-1). Michaels moved to third on Michael Bourn's sacrifice. After an intentional walk to Jeff Keppinger, Feliz flied out to left-center to score Michaels. Michaels easily beat center fielder Marlon Byrd's throw.Houston closer Matt Lindstrom pitched a scoreless 10th inning for his second save in back-to-back days.After an 0-8 start, the Astros have won three of four and Michaels and his teammates are trying to block out the recent skid."In this game you have to have a short term memory. You have to," Michaels said. "The beauty about it is you play everyday. You string some losses together and six seems like an eternity. You have to have a short term memory. Go out and get them the next day. Anything can happen."The Astros have scored only 14 runs in their last four games and are batting .215 on the season.Cubs closer Carlos Marmol couldn't hold a 2-0 lead after an impressive outing by Ryan Dempster. Dempster recorded 13 consecutive outs beginning with Feliz's fielder's choice that ended the third. The Astros did not get a hit until a leadoff infield single by Tommy Manzella in eighth.That hit came back to haunt Dempster. Bourn followed with a walk, ending Dempster's outing. With runners on first and second and two outs, Keppinger greeted Marmol with an RBI single, but Marmol quickly ended the inning with a called third strike to Feliz."I could've done a better job of pitching there in the eighth, the two-out walk and put a runner in scoring position kind of put him [Marmol] in a tough situation," Dempster said. "It's going to happen, it's going to happen again this year, hopefully not a lot just because I know how it feels, I know how he feels right now, but the nice part is he's going to get the ball again and hopefully go right back out there and bounce back and get a 'W.'"In the ninth inning, Hunter Pence singled off Marmol and stole second after Cubs catcher Koyie Hill couldn't get the ball out of his mitt. Blum followed with an RBI double down the right field line to tie it at 2.It was Marmol's first blown save in four opportunities."What are you going to do? They got some two-out hitting for the first run then the sacrifice fly and then Blum's double," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "They didn't get many chances, but the chances they got, they took advantage of them and won the game."Dempster breezed through the Houston order in his third start of the season. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and finished with eight strikeouts. He allowed one run, four hits and walked two in 7 2/3 innings.Byrd had a two-run single in the Cubs' 2-1 win over Astros on Saturday.Jeff Baker had a leadoff walk in the third inning and Geovany Soto followed with a single. Dempster sacrificed the runners into scoring position. With two outs, Byrd singled to left, scoring Baker and Soto to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked one.With the offense struggling against left-handers, Piniella said he will move Ryan Theriot to the eighth spot in the order and move Byrd to the leadoff spot when the Cubs face left-handed starters."Last couple of games we have not done much offensively," Piniella said. "I'm going to change the lineup around a little bit and spur this offense on a little bit."
Astros 1B Lance Berkman, who hasn't played a game this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on March 13, went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice fly Saturday in his first rehab game for Triple-A Round Rock. Berkman is expected to get four at-bats Sunday, according to Astros manager Brad Mills. ... Cubs LHP Ted Lilly (shoulder surgery) is scheduled to make his second rehab start on Monday for Class A Peoria and if all goes well he is expected to make his first start of the season for the Cubs at Milwaukee on Saturday. ... Despite a gametime temperature of 44 degrees, the announced crowd was 39,506.