Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Lance Berkman paced the offense with three hits and two runs batted in, whileFelipe Paulino tossed eight solid innings, as the Houston Astros took down the Chicago Cubs, 3-1, in the opener of a three- game series at Minute Maid Park.
Paulino (1-7) allowed one run on five hits to pick up his first win in 11 starts this season for the Astros, who have won four in a row. Matt Lindstrom recorded his 12th save of the year.
Michael Bourn went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for Houston, which got an RBI and run scored from Jeff Keppinger.
Marlon Byrd drove in the lone run for the Cubs, who have dropped four straight.
Carlos Zambrano (1-4) gave up three runs on six hits in a 4 1/3-inning start to take the loss. It was his first start since being shifted to the bullpen in late April.
The Astros drew first blood with a run in the first. Bourn singled, moved to second on Keppinger's groundout, and scored on Berkman's base hit to left. Houston went on to strand the bases loaded.
Chicago loaded the bases in the third, but Aramis Ramirez fouled out to end the threat.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the top of the fifth. Starlin Castro led off with a single and crossed the plate on Byrd's double to make it 1-1.
The Astros responded with two runs in the home half to take back the lead. Bourn hit a one-out single, stole second, and scored on Keppinger's base hit up the middle. Tom Gorzelanny then relieved Zambrano and gave up a run-scoring double to Berkman. Houston failed to score more runs after loading the bases, but held a 3-1 margin.
Houston took two of three from the Cubs when these teams squared off in Chicago from April 16-18, but dropped five of eight tilts between the clubs held at Minute Maid Park last season...The Cubs fell to 3-23 this season when scoring three runs or fewer...The Astros improved to 4-28 this year when scoring three runs or fewer...Zambrano dropped to 13-8 lifetime versus Houston...Wednesday's postponed game between the Piratesand Cubs will be made up this Monday, June 7 in Pittsburgh.