Results tagged ‘ Minute Maid ’

Astros open series against Cubs

The Astros, who lost two of three games to the Texas Rangers over the weekend, will give the ball to Bud Norris to night in the first game of a three-game series against the Cubs at Minute Maid Park. Matt Garza will pitch for Chicago.

Here are some pre-series tidbits:

  • Houston lost, 6-1, to the Rangers on Sunday and has now scored one or fewer runs six times already this month – tied for most in the majors. Despite their 18-23 record, the Astros have outscored opponents 167-164 overall in 2012.
  • The Cubs and Astros are meeting for the first time of the season. Chicago and Houston met six times at Minute Maid Park in 2011 and each club won three of those contests.
  • The Astros have won their last eight games in which they have scored four or more runs. That’s the third active longest winning streak among teams that have scored four or more runs in consecutive victories.
  • Astros starters have pitched at least five innings in each of their last 34 games, which is the second-longest streak in the Majors this year (Padres have gone 35 games in a row).
  • The Cubs have recorded a double in each of their 17 road games this season. That’s the team’s second-longest streak (2000) since 1921.
  • Cubs outfielder Bryan LaHair is one of two players accounting for more than a third of his team’s home runs this year. LaHair has 10 of the Cubs’ 29 homers (34.5 percent), which trails only Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, who has hit 12 of the Dodgers’ 33 home runs (36.4 percent).
  • Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro will be playing in his 325th  career game and is just two hits away from reaching 400 for his career, putting him in some elite company in recent years. Since 1980, the only players to reach 400 hits in 325 or fewer games are Alex Rodriguez (325), Wade Boggs (324), Hanley Ramirez (317), Kirby Puckett (310), Nomar Garciaparra (302) and Ichiro Suzuki (268).
  • Starlin Castro has a 10-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park, the second-longest active streak by any visiting player (Joey Votto, 18).
  • Cubs starter Matt Garza has been nearly impossible to hit this season with two strikes. He’s holding opponents to a 0.99 batting average with two strikes this year.
  • Astros starter Bud Norris has a 0.47 ERA in May after posting a 5.46 ERA in April, which is a 4.99 improvement. The only player who has improved more from April to May is Seattle’s Hector Noesi (8.83 ERA to 3.46 ERA).
  • The Cubs were shut out for the first time this season, 6-0, by the White Sox on Sunday and have now lost six straight games for the second time in 2012 (also April 14-20). The only two National League clubs that have not been blanked at least once this season are San Francisco and Arizona.
  • Matt Garza is 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last four starts and will be facing the Astros for the fifth time in his career tonight (0-2, 3.00 ERA in first four outings). Garza is 5-6 with a 4.41 ERA in 17 road starts since joining the Cubs in 2011.
  • Bud Norris is 3-0 in May and is looking to record a victory in four straight starts for the first time in his career tonight. Norris (2-2, 2.31 ERA in four career starts vs. Cubs) has a 0.47 ERA this month – best of any pitcher in the majors with at least two starts in May.
  • Astros first baseman Carlos Lee went 1-for-3 on Sunday and is now batting .341 (28-for-82) since April 23 overall. Lee has 38 career homers vs. the Cubs – third most of any active player (Pujols – 53, Dunn – 43).

Astros have grand night at Minute Maid

Astros manager Brad Mills was forced to watch Tuesday’s 11-2 win over the Cubs from a suite at Minute Maid Park after being suspended earlier in the day, but the view had to be sweet no matter where he was sitting.

The Astros pounded out 16 hits for the second time in three games and reached double-digit hits for the fifth consecutive game – their longest such streak in nearly two years. Michael Bourn, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence went a combined 9-for-15 with seven runs scored and seven RBIs.

Bourn went 2-for-4 with a double, two stolen bases and a career-high four runs scored, Sanchez tied his career high with four hits and drove in a pair of runs and Pence went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs. The Astros were 9-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

Brett Myers, who had a rare chance to pitch with a big lead, went seven innings and allowed one run and eight hits to improve to 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts against the Cubs. He’s also 10-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 20 games (18 starts) in his career at Minute Maid Park.

“That’s how you win ballgames,” Myers said. “You’ve got to have pitching and defense and you’ve got to score some runs. We played well at everything – defense, pitching was good and we swung the bats really well, too. Last night’s game had a lot to do with how well we played. We showed ourselves we could fight back with any team no matter who was in there. They came out from the get-go swinging tonight.”

Here are some postgame notes:

  • The Astros have recorded double-digit hits in each of their last five consecutive games and are hitting .339 in that span. The last time the club had a streak of five games with 10 or more hits was May 1-5, 2009.
  • The 11 runs scored by the Astros on Tuesday are the most since Aug. 3, 2010, at St. Louis, when the team scored 18 in an 18-4 win.
  • Astros starting pitchers have posted a 2-1 record and a 3.32 ERA since April 7. In the first five games of the season, Astros starters combined for an 0-4 record and a 9.62 ERA.
  • The Astros have five triples this season and entered Tuesday’s game tied for first in the Majors with Texas and Toronto with four.
  • Astros starting pitchers are hitting .381 (8-for-21) this season, including Brett Myers’ 1-for-3 performance on Tuesday. Myers is hitting .429 (3-for-7) in 2011.
  • Astros pitchers did not allow a run from the fifth inning Monday night until the seventh Tuesday, a span of 11 innings, marking the longest scoreless innings streak by the club this season.
  • RHP Brett Myers allowed one run in seven innings, lowering his season ERA to 1.77. Myers owns a 6-0 record with a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts vs. the Cubs, and in his 14 career starts against the Cubs, he is 11-2 with a 2.16 ERA.
  • Myers is 10-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 20 games, 18 starts, in his career at Minute Maid Park.
  • SS Angel Sanchez tied his career high with four hits Tuesday for the second time (also Aug. 3, 2010 at St. Louis). Sanchez has five hits in his last seven at-bats with four RBIs in that span (.714). In his last last games, he is hitting .526 with five RBIs.
  • C Humberto Quintero tied his career high with three hits for the fifth time.
  • CF Michael Bourn scored a career-high four runs in the win. His previous high was three runs, accomplished four times. He also stole bases on consecutive pitches.
  • RF Hunter Pence’s four RBIs were his most since Aug. 17, 2010, vs. the Mets, when he also drove in four.
  • CF Michael Bourn and 2B Bill Hall each extended their hitting streaks to a team-leading seven games on Tuesday. During their streaks, both players are hitting .333: Bourn is 10-for-30 and Hall is 8-for-24.
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