Cubs 14, Astros 7

By Chris Rewers on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hero: Aramis Ramirez hasn't yet made us forget about his sorry first half, but by all means he can continue to try to make amends.

Ramirez, who continues to be out-of-this-world hot, hit three home runs and knocked in seven as the Cubs rallied from deficits of 6-0 and 7-1. Ramirez homered with none on in the fourth, with two aboard in the fifth, and with two on in the eighth. It was A-Ram's fourth career three-homer game, and his first since Sept. 16, 2004. His seven RBI equaled a career high (Sept. 18, 2006).

Goat: So many times, Ryan Dempster has been let down by the Cubs' offense. So it was only right that his teammates bailed him out for once. Dempster allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits over five innings while walking four and striking out one.

Key Play: It wasn't a play, but the turning point of the game came when Houston manager Brad Mills decided, in spite of hell or high water, to let his starting pitcher Wesley Wright attempt to get through the fifth so he could qualify for the victory. Trying to ride it out with Wright was the wrong move as the Cubs erupted for five runs to pull within 7-6. Wright exited with two outs in the inning.

Comment: Lou Piniella announcing he would retire after the season was no surprise, Tom Ricketts announcing that Jim Hendry would be the GM in 2011 was - but not as much as Ricketts' disclosure that the great baseball mind of Crane Kenney would be involved in the search for Piniella's successor, which floored us. We wonder how Hendry feels about that?

Next: The Cubs (43-52) will try to win back-to-back series' for the first time since they took two of three from the Rangers and Dodgers in late May on Wednesday (WGN, 1:20 p.m.) when they send Ted Lilly (3-8, 4.07 ERA) against Houston (38-56) veteran right-hander Brett Myers (7-6, 3.35).

Lilly did not figure in the decision in his last start against Philadelphia on Friday, but did rebound from a pair of poor outings by striking out 10 over seven innings.

Myers, who has won his last two starts, is the 53rd pitcher since 1920 to begin a season with 19 starts of six innings or more. He can become the first hurler since Mark Buehrle and Pedro Martinez in 2005 with 20 such starts Wednesday. He earned a victory against the Cubs on June 6 when he allowed two runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.

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