(Sports Network) – It has been close to two months since Houston Astros starter Brett Myers has last won a game, but he may stand a good chance of getting on track given that he is facing the Chicago Cubs this afternoon.
Myers aims for his seventh straight victory over the Cubs and will look to pitch the Astros to their first three-game sweep of their NL Central rival since 2008 in today’s finale at Wrigley Field.
The right-handed Myers comes into this start just 1-4 with a 5.11 earned run average in 11 starts. However, that lone win came back on April 12 versus the Cubs after he threw seven innings of one-run ball. Myers improved to 6-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last seven starts against Chicago and is 11-3 with a save and a 2.15 ERA against the club lifetime.
Myers has dropped four straight decisions over an eight-start span since his lone win, allowing at least four earned runs in six of those games. Houston, meanwhile, has lost each of his last five starts.
The 30-year-old did leave Friday’s game versus Arizona with a 6-4 lead after yielding a pair of homers over 5 2/3 innings, but did not get a decision after the Astros eventually lost, 7-6.
Houston will hope that Myers can build on just its fourth winning streak of the season today, as the team has taken the first two games of this series after losing three in a row. A victory this afternoon would match the Astros’ longest winning streak of the season — a three-game run from April 30-May 3 — and give them their first three-game sweep of the Cubs since Sept. 1-3, 2008 at Wrigley Field.
Hunter Pence continued his offensive surge in last night’s 7-3 win, belting a three-run homer to cap a six-run ninth inning off Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. Pence ended with three hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 straight games.
Pinch-hitter Matt Downs hit a game-tying two-run double off Marmol, who came into the game with a 0.43 ERA over his previous 20 appearances, and Michael Bourn plated the go-ahead run with an RBI single.
Making his major league debut, 20-year-old Jordan Lyles threw seven shutout innings for Houston before running into trouble in the eighth. He did not record an out in the frame and was charged with two runs — one earned — in a no-decision that left manager Brad Mills impressed.
“That’s one of his biggest assets, he’s mature beyond his years,” Mills said of Lyles. “He had mound presence beyond his years. It was very significant how we went about it and did everything.”
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano also earned a tough-luck no-decision after fanning seven batters over eight innings of one-run ball. Marmol, meanwhile, suffered his third blown save of the season.
“You have those days and no one feels worse than Marm,” Cubs manager Mike Quade said afterward. “He’ll be back out there [Wednesday] to save a game for us, given the same opportunity. Too bad he had a rough night tonight.”
Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for Chicago, which has lost four of five.
Doug Davis will try to salvage the finale of this set for the Cubs, but he has lost all three of his starts since joining the rotation in mid-May. He has allowed 14 runs (10 earned) over 13 1/3 innings for a 6.75 ERA and gave up four runs — two earned — on four hits and six walks over 4 2/3 innings of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday — his 300th career game.
The 35-year-old southpaw has struggled lifetime versus the Astros. He has lost each of his last four starts against them and recorded an 8.24 ERA over that stretch, and is just 3-11 with a 4.59 ERA all-time against Houston. However, Davis hasn’t faced the Astros since May 13, 2007.
The Cubs took two of three meetings with Houston at Minute Maid Park from April 11-13 of this season. The Astros went 11-7 in last year’s series with the Cubs.