Hero: Ryan Dempster (1-4) had his second straight solid start, allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits while striking out four and walking none.
"I'm doing a better job of executing pitches," Dempster said. "I was able to keep the ball down, for the most part, today."
Hero: Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4) wrapped up a terrific April with a solo home run in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth. It was the 10th homer of the season for Soriano (.258 BA, 20 RBI), who shares the major league lead in home runs with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.
Hero: Matt Garza - who did not figure in the decision - allowed six hits, struck out nine, and walked three over six shutout innings. Garza walked the first two men he faced in the sixth but escaped a bases-loaded-jam when Brad Hawpe rolled into an inning-ending double play.
"If I don't win a game all year but we win my games, it doesn't bother me one bit," Garza said.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit his fourth home run of the season - a three-run shot during the Cubs' five-run first inning - and, with help from a Starlin Castro relay throw, gunned down Houston's Brett Wallace at the plate when Wallace tried to score from first on a Matt Downs double in the second inning.
Heroes: The first two hitters in the Cubs' lineup - Starlin Castro (3-for-5) and Darwin Barney (2-for-3) - combined for five hits and scored all five of the Cubs' runs in the first four innings against Houston starter Nelson Figueroa (0-2).
Hero: Man, does this guy rake lefties! Jeff Baker went 4-for-5, including a go-ahead, three-run homer off Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf (0-2) in the fourth inning. Baker is 6-for-11 against southpaws this season.
Baker also contributed a two-out RBI single in the sixth and scored in the ninth on a Marlon Byrd double after reaching on a leadoff single.
Hero: Andrew Cashner was terrific in his first major league start before exiting after 5 1/3 innings with tightness in his pitching shoulder. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits, struck out two, and walked one. He went to a three-ball count on just two batters, and fired 43 of his 72 pitches for strikes.
Hero: Blake DeWitt put a miserable spring training behind him by delivering a tie-breaking, two-run double to cap a five-run Cubs eighth.
The snow has melted, the days are getting noticeably longer, and the Cubs are playing spring training games in Arizona.
(Editor's Note: Tenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
On Sept. 18, 2008, the Cubs' magic number for clinching the NL Central appeared like it was going to be stuck at four. The North Siders trailed the second-place Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and nobody on base.
(Editor's Note: Ninth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
The Cubs were riding high when they played host to the Colorado Rockies on May 30, 2008. They had won their previous four games to improve to 33-21 and held a 1.5-game lead over second-place St. Louis in the National League Central.
The improved play the Cubs demonstrated under interim manager Mike Quade during the season's final weeks (a 24-13 record) was encouraging but it doesn't change the fact that the 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster.
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.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit his 23rd and 24th home runs of the season to raise his batting average to .257 and his slugging percentage to .501.
Hero: Carlos Zambrano (10-6) earned his seventh road win of the season after allowing just three hits in seven innings while striking out five and walking four. Zambrano, who is 7-2 in 12 career starts against San Diego, is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts since rejoining the starting rotation on Aug. 9. Big Z, who will make his final start of the season this weekend at Houston, has pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings.
Hero: Casey Coleman (3-2) allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits over seven innings while striking out four and walking two. Coleman, who did not allow a hit after the third, retired the last nine and 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.
Hero: Randy Wells (8-13) allowed six hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings while striking out six and walking one to lead the Cubs to their 11th shutout victory of the season.
Hero: Ryan Dempster (14-10) allowed just four hits - singles by Gaby Sanchez and Dan Uggla, and doubles by Chad Tracy and Logan Morrison - over seven innings while striking out five and walking three. Dempster and three relievers combined for the Cubs' 10th shutout of the season and the third of the current road trip.
Hero: Tyler Colvin became the fourth Cubs rookie to hit 20 or more home runs in a season. The other members of the exclusive club are Walt "Moose" Moryn with 23 in 1956, Billy Williams (25, 1961), and Geovany Soto (23, 2008).