(Sports Network) - Cubs starter Carlos Silva displayed a lot of heart in beginning the season 8-0 over his first 11 starts. In an odd twist, that's exactly what has kept Silva off the mound since August 1.
Silva is scheduled to take the mound Tuesday against the NL Central-rival Houston Astros at Wrigley Field, and underwent a cardiac ablation to correct an abnormal heart rate. In his last start August 1 at Colorado, Silva left the game after just one-third of an inning and allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. Following surgery and a stint on the disabled list, Silva made a pair of rehab assignments for Class A Peoria.
The right-hander was then evaluated by manager Mike Quade and pitching coach Larry Rothschild and will try to get back to his winning ways tonight. Silva is only 2-5 with a 5.58 earned run average in his last nine starts, with the Cubs going 2-7 during that span. He won his last start on July 26 in a 5-2 triumph at Houston, as he pitched five innings of one-run ball. In nine career meetings (4 starts) with the Astros, Silva is 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA.
Silva, who is 10-5 in 20 overall starts this season, is holding opposing hitters to a .266 batting average.
Chicago has a chance for its first series win over Houston after taking Monday's series opener by a 5-4 score thanks to home runs by Marlon Byrd and Geovany Soto. The Astros put up four runs in the second inning, but Blake DeWitt's RBI single and Byrd's two-run homer in the third pulled the Cubs within a run. Jeff Baker stroked an RBI double in the fifth to even the score and Soto put the Cubs ahead for good with a solo homer in the eighth.
Cubs starter Casey Coleman allowed four runs, eight hits and five walks in six innings, while Andrew Cashner earned the win for a scoreless eighth. Carlos Marmol notched his 28th save with a perfect ninth.
"We want to leave on a good note," Soto said of ending the season in positive fashion. "All these young guys, they have something to prove. They want to open some eyes. They want to get looked at. We want to play hard."
The Cubs have won four of their last five games.
Houston entered Monday's game winners of two straight and 11 of 14 games, but a poorly placed pitch from Wilton Lopez ruined the party. Lopez allowed Soto's go-ahead home run in the eighth to absorb the loss for the Astros, who got a homer from Chris Johnson and an RBI apiece out of Jeff Keppinger and Hunter Pence.
"You just have to try to continue to scrap against them," Astros center fielder Michael Bourn said. "We had some opportunities we didn't take advantage of."
Wandy Rodriguez started for the 'Stros and permitted four runs on eight hits and a walk with six K's in the no-decision.
Taking the ball for Houston this evening will be Nelson Figueroa, who is 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 games (4 starts) this season. Figueroa previously took the hill last Wednesday in a 5-2 win over St. Louis, as he held the Cardinals to two runs and six hits in five innings.
Figueroa, a right-hander, is 1-5 in 12 lifetime games (six starts) in this series and threw two innings of relief against the Cubs in a 5-2 loss back on July 26 this season. He did not record a decision that day.
Houston has got the better of the Cubs for much of this season, having taken eight of 13 meetings between the clubs in 2010. The Astros have won four of the seven matchups held at Wrigley Field as well.