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.

2 Comments

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

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