Astros 3, Cubs 1

By Chris Rewers on Friday, June 4, 2010

Hero: Marlon Byrd went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .302 and drove in his 28th run of the season with a double in the fifth inning.

Goats: Aramis Ramirez, back in the cleanup spot, went hitless for the 20th time in the 44 games he has appeared in, going 0-for-4 and lowering his average to .158. Ramirez popped up in foul territory to Houston first baseman Lance Berkman with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the third.

Ryan Theriot, who went 0-for-4, is hitting just .189 (17-for-90) in his 22 games as a second baseman.

Key Plays: Carlos Zambrano (1-4), who exited after 4 1/3 innings in his first start since April 20, was doomed to a short outing after laboring through 34 pitches in the first inning. Zambrano allowed a run and walked two during the opening frame.

Comment: The Cubs (24-30), losers of four straight, managed just five hits and were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position as Houston starter Felipe Paulino (1-7) worked eight strong innings. The North Siders have scored two runs or less in six of their last seven games and are 3-23 when they score three or fewer runs. The Cubs are 1-5 during a current 12-game stretch against NL Central opponents.

Next: Many major league scouts will likely be in attendance Saturday (CSN, 6:05 p.m.) when disgruntled Houston ace Roy Oswalt (3-7, 2.78 ERA) opposes the Cubs' Ryan Dempster (3-5, 3.72). Oswalt, who is 14-12 with a 3.67 ERA lifetime against the Cubs, has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his 11 starts this season. Dempster, who threw a season-high 125 pitches in his last start, against St. Louis, has worked at least six innings in all 11 of his starts in 2010.

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