Wood, Rizzo Lead the Way as the Cubs Sweep Astros

Break out the brooms, thanks to an outstanding effort from Travis Wood, and timely hitting, again, from Anthony Rizzo the Cubs swept away the Astros on Sunday, it was the Cubs fifth win in their last six games.  After just under an hour rain delay both offenses seemed less than ready to swing the bats as both pitchers were breezing through the early innings.  The Cubs staged a rally in the 6th, Starlin Castro was intentionally walked with Travis Wood at third and one out bring Anthony Rizzo to the plate in a big spot.  Rizzo wasted no time, lacing an RBI single through the right side on a first pitch curve ball to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead, it turned out to be the game winning hit, Rizzo’s third in five games already.  Jeff Baker followed with a double down the left field line that scored Castro and Rizzo all the way from first.  That was more than enough for Travis Wood as he shut out the Astros over 7.2 innings only allowing three hits, while walking none and struck out four.  Wood improved to 3-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.05.  Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 8th save of the season, the third straight in this series.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Rizzo Powers Cubs Past Astros

It hasn’t taken long for Anthony Rizzo to make an impact at the Major League level for the Cubs, today he might have made his biggest one.  After a punch less four innings the Cubs offense got going in the 5th inning.  Starlin Castro has a tremendous two out at bat which resulted in a line drive base hit to right field to cut the Astros lead to 2-1.  Anthony Rizzo followed with his biggest hit as a Cub, a towering two run home run off of left-handed starter J.A. Happ to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead heading to the 6th.  The Cubs bullpen surprisingly took it from there and shut the door on the Astros over the final four innings.  Matt Garza only lasted 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out one.  But thanks to Scott Maine, Manual Corpas, James Russell, Shawn Camp, and Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza earned his fourth win of the season.  Geovany Soto had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a walk, he also gunned down Jordan Schafer trying to steal second.  Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo were the big reasons the Cubs won today, and I have a feeling that’s something we will be saying after a lot of games in the future.  Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow, full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Cubs Use The Long Ball to Back Stellar Maholm

Break up the Cubs, okay not really but after today’s win they have now won three out of four and for a team with 49 losses before July that’s something worth noting.  Fans at Wrigley Field got the best of both Worlds today as they witnessed home runs and stellar pitching from Paul Maholm.  Maholm was outstanding, as he had everything working and kept the Astros hitters off-balance all day.  Unfortunately Maholm put two guys on in the ninth before he was lifted for Carlos Marmol, falling just short of his first complete game as a Cub.  The final line for Maholm, 8.1 innings giving up no runs on four hits while walking one and striking out six to earn his 5th win of the season.  As I mentioned, the fans were treated to the long ball today, three of them in fact.  Luis Valbuena who has shown some solid power since getting recalled to the Cubs hit his third home run of the season to put the Cubs up 1-0 in the bottom of the second.  Steve Clevenger joined the fun in the fourth inning launching his first major league home run, a two run shot to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.  Alfonso Soriano rounded out the scoring with his team leading 15th home run of the season to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead, Soriano finished the day 2-for-4.  It was nice to see Bryan LaHair get back on track as he went 3-for-4 in the win, and Carlos Marmol continued his strong stretch since being plugged back into the closer role by earning his 6th save.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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