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Cubs Face Astros Looking For Series Win

(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros have yet to lose a series to the Chicago Cubs this year. Starting pitcher Bud Norris getting his first victory in well over two months would keep that stretch going.

Norris and the Astros aim for a fourth series win over the Cubs in as many tries this year in Wednesday night's finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros have won seven of 11 versus the Cubs in 2010 and evened this series on Tuesday behind Brett Myers' complete game and a big seventh inning by the Houston offense that led to a 6-1 triumph.

Myers scattered one run and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts while going the distance for the first time since Sept. 14, 2008 with Philadelphia, while Lance Berkman capped a six-run seventh inning with a grand slam.

"Mr. Myers does it again, just an absolute outstanding performance," Houston manager Brad Mills said after his team improved to 2-3 on a nine-game homestand. "He just continues to battle. It's fun to watch."

Myers allowed just Tyler Colvin's ninth-inning homer to fall short of the shutout. The Cubs, who have lost two of three, failed to back Ted Lilly's scoreless 5 2/3 innings in the start. Reliever Andrew Cashner was charged with all six Houston runs over 1 1/3 innings of work.

Both Lilly and Myers have been involved in trade rumors leading up to Saturday's deadline, but Chicago manager Lou Piniella didn't think that affected his left-hander last night.

"I can tell you it wouldn't bother him," Piniella said. "I rode in with him from the hotel [Wednesday]. We talked a little bit about his situation. He wants to stay here, but he understands."

The Astros will hope Norris can notch his first win since May 13, and the right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.13 earned run average in seven starts since that outing. He has yielded 13 earned runs over his last three starts, losing consecutive games before a no-decision versus the Reds on Friday.

The right-hander yielded four runs on four hits and three walks over six innings in that outing and is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA on the season.

Norris has yet to win at home this year, having gone 0-4 with a 7.13 ERA in seven starts, and is making his first career start versus the Cubs this evening. The 25-year-old did face them in relief a season ago, his first appearance in the majors, and allowed a run over three frames of work.

After a slow start, Cubs starter Randy Wells has started to put things together and brings a 14-inning scoreless streak into this outing.

The 27-year-old has hurled consecutive outings of seven innings, getting a no- decision versus the Phillies on July 17 before besting St. Louis on Friday. Wells held the Cardinals to five hits and three walks in a 5-0 triumph, while also striking out seven.

Wells is 5-7 with a 4.07 ERA on the season, but 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA over his last five starts. He is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros, but did lose in Houston on June 6 after giving up six runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. The righty yielded a run-scoring single to Berkman and a two-run homer to Carlos Lee in the first inning to fall behind early.

Wells will look to slow down Astros third baseman Chris Johnson, as the rookie is hitting .415 (17-for-41) with three homers and nine RBI on an 11-game hitting streak.