The Astros overcame a 3-0 deficit today at Wrigley Field to beat the Cubs by a score of 4-3. Bud Norris lasted six innings, giving up three runs and recording a quality start even though he didn’t appear to have his best stuff. A couple of errors by the Astros in the third inning helped Chicago jump out to a 2-0 lead. Norris hung a slider to Luis Valbuena and the Cubs third-baseman singled home a pair of runners.
Carlos Corporan and Jose Veras (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Norris settled down after a visit from pitching coach Doug Brocail and got out of the inning with no further damage. Credit Brocail for getting Norris focused at a time when he may have been a little frustrated.
The Cubs extended their lead in the fifth when Nate Schierholtz picked on a 2-0 fastball for his tenth homer of the season. That was all of the scoring for the Cubs.
Cubs starter Travis Wood was sailing along through 5 & 2/3 innings when the Astros rallied for three quick runs. After Jose Altuve and Chris Carter reached on consecutive singles, J.D. Martinez blasted a 3-run shot over the leftfield bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue. Wood left the game after issuing a leadoff walk in the seventh but the Astros were unable to score against journeyman reliever Shawn Camp.
Jose Cisnero made quick work of the Cubs in the seventh but struggled with his command in the eighth. A couple of fortunate calls helped the Houston reliever dodge a bullet and escape without allowing any runs. Cisnero picked off Alfonso Soriano at second on a call that was argued by Cubs skipper Dale Sveum. Later in the inning it appeared that Cisnero had walked in a run but he got the strike call on a pitch that was both low and inside. It was nice to see the Astros benefit from some iffy calls for a change. Usually they seem to be on the wrong side of them.
Now the Astros just needed some late offense to put Cisnero in a position to pick up the win. With closer Kevin Gregg on the mound for the ninth inning it wouldn’t be easy. But the Astros were up to the challenge. Justin Maxwell would get the winning rally started with a leadoff double to leftfield. Matt Dominguez followed with a well-executed sacrifice bunt and Ronny Cedeno squeezed Maxwell home.
Jose Veras pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the 4-3 win and earn his 15th save of the season. The Astros tied the series at one game apiece and look to win their third straight series in tomorrow’s finale. It was nice to see the boys battle back today. It was especially nice to see them use a combination of the longball and some small ball to get the job done.