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Cubs' Lilly, Astros' Myers Battle In Matchup Of Trade-Rumored Pitchers

(Sports Network) - Two pitchers rumored to be on the trading block get together this afternoon in the Windy City, where Ted Lilly and the host Chicago Cubs take on Brett Myers and the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field in the finale of a three-game set.

Lilly is 0-2 with an 8.83 earned run average in his last three starts, but pitched well enough for the win his last time out in a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia last Thursday. He struck out 10 batters, allowed three runs and issued only one walk in six innings to remain at 3-8 in 16 starts to go along with a 4.07 ERA.

The veteran left-hander, who is just 2-4 in nine home starts, has enjoyed success against rival Houston in his career. Lilly is 7-1 with a 2.49 earned run average in 10 starts against the Astros.

Myers will try to push his winning streak to three straight starts when he takes the mound Wednesday. Myers hurled eight innings of one-run ball in a 4-1 win versus St. Louis on July 10, then held Pittsburgh to a pair of runs over 7 2/3 frames of his team's 5-2 victory last Thursday from PNC Park.

The right-hander, who is 7-6 in 19 starts with a 3.35 ERA, hasn't pitched so well on the road in his first season with Houston, going 2-6 in 10 starts away from Minute Maid Park. Myers beat Chicago in a 6-3 decision back on June 6 at home, as he fired 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball.

He is 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 14 career games (10 starts) against the Cubs.

Trying to slow down Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez may be tough since the slugger is coming off a three-homer game in last night's 14-7 blasting of the Astros. Ramirez, who racked up seven RBI in the lopsided win, owns seven home runs and 24 RBI this month, and has hit safely in 16 of his last 20 games.

Ramirez must have been motivated by the announcement that manager Lou Piniella will step down at season's end. Geovany Soto got into the act with a home run as well, while Starlin Castro posted three hits and Derrek Lee went 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.

"Watching from the bullpen and seeing the way Ramy's been swinging the bat, going all the way back to Arizona [series July 5-7], he's been seeing the ball well and he picked us up tonight," Cubs reliever Andrew Cashner said. "As soon as I got up, I thought I'd be going in and I just tried to keep it close."

Cashner tossed two innings of scoreless relief to pick up his first win in the majors and starter Ryan Dempster gave up seven runs -- four earned -- on eight hits in five innings of work for the no-decision.

The Cubs are 4-2 on their 10-game homestand and will also host St. Louis for three games at Wrigley Field. Piniella, meanwhile, is in his fourth season as Cubs manager. He guided the club to a winning record in each of his first three years, but the team is just 43-52. Piniella is the first Cubs manager in more than 70 years to post a record of .500 or better in each of his first three seasons with the team. He led the Cubs to NL Central titles in 2007 and 2008, but the team was swept in the Division Series both years.

Chicago has not won a World Series since 1908 and hasn't reached the Fall Classic since 1945.

Houston has lost three of four games and had a rough night on the mound. Starter Wesley Wright made his first career start and surrendered six runs, one of which was earned, and six hits in 4 2/3 innings in the no-decision. Brandon Lyon suffered the loss for permitting two runs in the eighth and Gary Majewski was reached for five runs in the ninth.

"I wish I could have executed a little bit better in that fifth inning and gave our team a chance to get over it and move forward, but I didn't," Wright said. "I wish I would have made a different pitch to Ramirez. I showed him the curveball a lot, and he got it up in the air and it just kept carrying."

Chris Johnson homered and finished with two RBI for the Astros, who scored four runs in the second inning and took a 6-0 lead in the fourth. Carlos Lee had two hits and an RBI in a losing outcome.

Houston has won five of eight matchups with Chicago this season, one year after the Cubs took 11 of the 17 matchups between the two clubs.