CHICAGO -- Brett Myers makes his job sound so easy: Throw the ball, let the other team hit it at his fielders.
Myers did more than that Wednesday night, striking out eight in seven crisp innings as the Houston Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 4-0.Myers has lasted at least six innings in all 29 of his starts -- the longest streak in team history and longest in the majors since Curt Schilling's run of 35 straight for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002. He also dropped his ERA to 2.91."I go out there and pitch to contact. I want them to hit the ball. I'm not a big strikeout pitcher," Myers said. "I want them to hit the ball on the ground in the least amount of pitches and get deep in the game."Myers (11-7) allowed three hits and walked one, improving to 10-3 with a 2.21 ERA in 17 career games against the Cubs. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last six starts overall."Q [Humberto Quintero] called a great game behind the plate. When we're working together and we're on the same page like that it makes things a lot better to get in a rhythm. I didn't shake him too much tonight," Myers said.Surging Houston, which won for the 13th time in 17 games, took all five series against the Cubs this season."Their lineup has changed a lot, without Derrek Lee and without [Aramis] Ramirez," Myers said.Randy Wells (6-13) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings for Chicago."It was kind of mixed reviews. I felt like I came out and did what I wanted to do, established the fastball early and the sinker was pretty good tonight, slider was pretty good, but overused the slider again. I had no changeup to go to, didn't pitch inside very much in big situations," said Wells. "Outside of the sinker and the slider I didn't have a whole lot to go to."Myers retired the first 14 batters he faced. He got some help from his defense when second baseman Jeff Keppinger made a backhanded stop and a leaping throw to get Starlin Castro in the fourth inning.Geovany Soto walked with two outs in the fifth for Chicago's first baserunner and Alfonso Soriano followed with a single. But Myers got Darwin Barney to ground out to end the threat.Myers also worked out of a jam in the seventh, retiring two straight after the Cubs put runners on the corners with one out. He is 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in four starts against Chicago this year.Fernando Abad, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak and Wilton Lopez combined to finish the five-hitter, Houston's ninth shutout of the season.The Cubs finished a nine-game homestand with a 5-4 record and lost back-to-back games under Mike Quade for the first time. Quade took over when manager Lou Piniella retired on Aug. 23.The Cubs were shut out for the 10th time this season."He's [Myers] been tough on us all year. I'll tell you what, there is just no margin for error," Quade said. "I'll have to tip my hat, the guy has found a home in Houston right now and we have to find a way to beat him."Quintero hit an RBI single in the second and Hunter Pence connected in the third for his 23rd homer. Chris Johnson added an RBI single in the fifth and Keppinger drove in a run with a groundout in the sixth.After being benched the previous two games by Quade, Castro committed an error on Lee's grounder to shortstop in the first inning. Quade sat Castro for his poor defensive play and not knowing how many outs there were during the seventh inning of Chicago's 18-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday.
Ramirez missed his third straight game with a sore right quad. He is day to day.
33,623 (82% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
61 degrees, clear
Home Plate - Larry Vanover, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg
How Astros starter Brett Myers shut out the Cubs: ... Didn't have his best fastball, so didn't rely on it: Heater averaged just 87.8 mph, his lowest of the season. Half of the 46 fastballs Myers threw were on the first or second pitch. The Cubs swung at just four of them. Overall swing rate against his fastball was just 26.1%, the second lowest of the season. Chicago went 0-for-9 when they did decide to go after one. ... Although all three hits were on offspeed pitches, the Cubs also chased 48.3% of non-fastballs outside the strike zone-- a season-high for opposing teams against Myers. ... Battled back, recording 66% strikes when behind in the count. Continued to use mostly offspeed pitches even when behind; Cubs were 0-for-5 when they put balls in play in hitters' counts.