Cubs Finally Hit a Winning Streak

Marlon Byrd

Believe it or not, the Cubs achieved their first three-game winning streak of the season Sunday when they beat the Houston Astros 5-4 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field.

"What a way to do it," manager Mike Quade said. "You knew it wasn't going to be easy."

It wasn't easy, and Quade felt the need to explain several moves and non-moves after the game.

Although right-hander Kerry Wood hadn't pitched since last Wednesday, Quade did not even get him warmed up Sunday. He said Wood felt "cranky" with his arm after getting up "three or four times" in the bullpen the previous two days but not pitching.

Quade also did not pinch-run for slow-footed catcher Geovany Soto in the eighth inning, and Soto was thrown out on a force play on an attempted sacrifice. Dependable Reed Johnson sat on the bench. Quade said backup catcher Koyie Hill was sick with the flu and that Johnson was not feeling well.

"Let's head some of this off at the pass in case the second-guessers unite," Quade said. "Johnson and Hill were not available at all today. Hilly's down with the flu bad. Thank God (Soto) got through. He was here. In case something bad happened, we could have dragged him out of there, because I could have pinch-run or done some things there.

"And Reed wasn't feeling very good today as well."

--RHP Matt Garza got a no-decision as he worked seven innings of five-hit, two-run ball. For the sixth time this year, he left a game with a lead only to get a no-decision.

"It's a lot (more fun) when you win, I'll tell you that much," said Garza, whose ERA fell from 3.80 to 3.72.

Quade said he's more than pleased with Garza despite his 4-7 record.

"Not everybody's guaranteed run support," Quade said. "To his credit, he just keeps pitching. He's something. He shows up and is ready to go every day. I don't notice any wear and tear because he's not getting the breaks. He just goes back to pitch and wants to pitch well for his club."

--RHPs Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells will start the three-game series at Milwaukee beginning Tuesday. RHP Rodrigo Lopez, who hasn't started since July 18, will get his next start Saturday at St. Louis. With off-days in the schedule, Lopez has been the swingman. Quade says he may be able to use Lopez out of the bullpen through Wednesday in Milwaukee but that Tuesday is probably as late as he can go.

--CF Marlon Byrd played in his 1,000th career game. He opened the 10th with a triple that Houston outfielder Hunter Pence lost in the sun and scored the winning run. He wound up 4-for-5 with a double and a triple.

"We kept battling, kept fighting, and that's what we've got to do the rest of the year," he said.

--Wells won his first decision since April 4 in Saturday's 5-1 victory over Houston. Wells missed most of April and May with a forearm strain and had not pitched well since coming off the DL in early June.

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