Game Recap: Cubs 5, Astros 6 -- Just Short!
Well, poop. All good things must come to an end, I guess. A shaky 4th inning from starter Rich Harden, a wild start to the top of the 7th by reliever Jose Ascanio, and some solid defensive plays by the Astros brought about the end of two Cub winning streaks: the five straight wins in the Cubs' last five games, as well as their formerly perfect record in games in which the Cubs scored four or more runs (they're now 20-1 in those games, I think, assuming I still understand how numbers work).
Derrek Lee gets the gold star on offense today. He added about 25 points to his average with today's 4-hit effort, which included a double and a home run. Two other Cubs got multiple hits: Alfonso Soriano (one of which was a home run), and Kosuke Fukudome. Kosuke has been earning the number on the back of his jersey lately, and currently leads the team with a .333 batting average. Together, the team knocked out 11 hits, four more than the Astros (see? I understand subtraction!).
On the less-gold-starrish side of things, Mike Fontenot posted his fifth consecutive oh-fer. He's now in the middle of an 0-for-16 streak. He does have a handful of walks in that time, but let's be honest. We want hits, Mike. HITS! AND WALKS! AND HOME RUNS! YEAH MIKE FONTENOT! Yeah!
Cubs hurlers put up seven shutout innings today; even star "hurler" Neal Cotts goosed the 'Stros in the 9th (in his case I mean the OTHER hurling--you know, like barfing? lol!). Unfortunately, they mixed in a pair of bad innings with those good ones. In the 4th, Rich Harden served up three extra-base hits, including a two-run shot to Pudge Rodriguez; and in the 7th, Jose Ascanio went 2-for-2 on his first pair of pitches--he hit both batters he faced. Both would score--one on a Lance Berkman single, the other on a wild pitch.
Apart from those first three batters (Matsui, Bourn, and Elvis), Ascanio would not allow any additional base runners. He also got two strikeouts during his perfect 8th inning. In the end, however, the six runs allowed by Harden and Ascanio were insurmountable.
It's hard to be too upset about this one. The Cubs scored five runs, and weren't completely awful from the mound. Who knows what might've happened if Geo Soto's liner to end the game got past Jeff Keppinger? They were right there. Hopefully that bad luck gets turned around against the Cardinals on Tuesday night.