Cubs 2, Astros 0

By Chris Rewers on Friday, October 1, 2010

Hero: Casey Coleman (4-2) finished the season by winning his final three starts. The rookie right-hander allowed six hits over seven innings while striking out two and walking one as the Cubs improved to 14-14 in shutout games. Cubs starters are 13-5 with a 2.87 ERA since Sept. 10.

Coleman also contributed a two-out RBI double in the fourth inning off Houston starter Bud Norris (9-10). It was Coleman's first career extra-base hit and second RBI.

Goats: Darwin Barney (0-for-5) and Brad Snyder (0-for-4) were the only Cubs starters not to reach base.

Key Play: Welington Castillo, who seems to hit whenever he gets a rare chance to play, drove in the Cubs' first run with a double in the second inning. The rookie catcher, who made just his fifth major league start, is hitting .300.

Comments: The Cubs (74-86) improved to 23-12 overall and 16-4 in road games under interim manager Mike Quade.

Carlos Marmol continued his recent dominance, striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down his 38th save of the season and his 17th in as many opportunities since Aug. 21. The 27-year-old Dominican right-hander, who is averaging a major league record 15.99 strikeouts per nine innings (Eric Gagne, with a 14.98 ratio in 2003, formerly held the mark), has not allowed a run in his last 18 2/3 innings. He has allowed just two hits since Sept. 1 - both singles - and one of those did not make it out of the infield. Opponents are hitting just .147 against him this season.

Andrew Cashner pitched a scoreless eighth. In 17 appearances since Quade took over as interim manager on Aug. 23, Cashner has held the opposition scoreless 14 times. He is 1-1 with 10 holds and a 1.40 ERA.

Cubs relievers have worked 23 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and have a 1.27 ERA in their last 23 games.

Bobby Scales scored both Cubs runs after drawing walks from Norris.

Next: Carlos Zambrano (10-6, 3.36 ERA) will try to put the finishing touch on his spectacular late-season run Saturday (WGN, 6:05 p.m.) when he opposes Houston left-hander J.A. Happ (6-3, 2.77).

Zambrano is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 55 strikeouts in his last 10 starts. The opposition is hitting just .187 during that stretch.

Happ, a native of Spring Valley, Ill., was acquired by Houston in a July 29 trade that sent Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 starts with the Astros and has not allowed an earned run over 12 innings in his last two starts.


The pitching is good again. Marmol is really throwing heat and that "slider from hell."

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