Cubs Lose To Astros, Finish Fifth At 75-87

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Cubs, Dempster Shut Out By Astros 4-0

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Tommy Manzella knocked in two runs and Nelson Figueroa tossed six scoreless innings, as Houston blanked Chicago, 4-0, to end the season.

Figueroa (7-4), who replaced Wandy Rodriguez (back) as Houston’s starter on three days rest, gave up six hits and two walks while fanning eight for the Astros (76-86), who salvaged a win to end the three-game series to finish in fourth place in the NL Central.

Ryan Dempster (15-12) was charged with four runs — three earned — on nine hits while striking out seven and walking one for the Cubs (75-87), who placed fifth in the NL Central.

The Astros had runners on the corners and two outs in the second inning. Manzella made it 1-0 with a single, and Humberto Quintero came around on Koyie Hill’s throwing error on a ball hit by Figueroa.

Carlos Lee belted a solo homer in the third, and Manzella singled in Brett Wallace an inning later.

Fernando Abad relieved Figueroa in the seventh and recorded two outs, and Wilton Lopez bridged the gap to Brandon Lyon, who set down the side in the ninth to close out the win.

The Cubs, who went 24-13 after Mike Quade took over on an interim manager for Lou Piniella, had surrendered three of fewer runs in 15 straight road games…The Cubs went 40-41 on the road this year, while Houston went 42-39 at home…The Astros won the season series, 11-7…Chicago’s bullpen ended the year with a streak of 29 consecutive scoreless frames.

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Cubs Can Finish Fourth With Win Sunday

(Sports Network) - Veteran right-hander Ryan Dempster can surpass 15 wins for the second time in his big-league career today when the Chicago Cubs wrap up a three-game weekend series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Cubs have won the initial two games of the series, including Saturday when Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam and Marlon Byrd drove in three runs in an 8-3 win.

Carlos Zambrano (11-6) finished his tumultuous 2010 campaign on an eight- decision winning streak, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings for Chicago, which has won three straight.

J.A. Happ (6-4) was tagged for eight runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits and five walks in just three-plus frames. The left-hander was winless in his final five starts of the season for Houston, which has dropped three in a row.

Dempster, a 33-year-old native of Gibbons, British Columbia, won a career-high 17 games in 33 starts while a member of the Cubs in 2008. He won 15 in 34 starts while with the Florida Marlins in 2001 and had gotten as many as 14 one other time in his career - in 2000 with the Marlins.

He won three of five starts in September, including a 5-2 win at San Diego on Sept. 28 in San Diego, a game in which he allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings.

Dempster picked up a no-decision against the Astros in their last meeting and is 5-10 against the in 47 career appearances - including 16 saves and a 4.36 ERA in 159 innings.

Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez finishes his season and looks for his first win since Aug. 31.

He allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 defeat of St. Louis six starts ago, but has since racked-up five straight no-decisions while allowing 24 hits and 15 runs in 32 1/3 innings.

One of those no-decisions came against the Cubs on Sept. 6 at Wrigley Field, where he gave up an earned run in seven hits in seven innings of Chicago's 5-4 win.

He's 5-4 lifetime against Chicago with a 3.79 ERA in 99 2/3 innings.

Houston is 10-7 against the Cubs this season.

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