Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Tyler Colvin belted a two-run homer and Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI to pace the Cubs to an 8-5 win over Houston.
Ryan Dempster (4-5) fanned seven batters over 6 1/3 innings to win for just the second time in his last eight starts. The right-hander was charged with six hits and three runs.
Marlon Byrd also had three hits and knocked in one for Chicago, which snapped a four-game skid. Koyie Hill added a two-run double.
Roy Oswalt (3-8) suffered his sixth loss in his last eight starts as he surrendered season-highs of nine hits and six runs over seven innings.
Jeff Keppinger hit his first homer of the season for the Astros, who had won their previous four contests. Humberto Quintero also went deep and drove in two runs for Houston.
Derrek Lee singled and Byrd doubled with one out in the fourth inning. Ramirez followed with an RBI single to left to tie the game at 2-2. Alfonso Soriano then put Chicago ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly to right.
Houston wasted a chance with two men on base in the bottom of the inning before Chicago extended the lead in the sixth on back-to-back doubles from Lee and Byrd to begin the frame.
Hill walked to start the seventh, and two outs later Colvin blasted his sixth homer of the year, a shot to the second deck in right, for a 6-2 margin.
Quintero homered with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Jeff Fulchino loaded the bases with nobody out in the eight before getting Starlin Castro to ground into a double play. Hill then greeted reliever Gustavo Chacin with a two-run double into the left field corner.
Ryan Theriot dropped a scoop from Castro on a sure double-play ball that would have ended the game. Quintero then doubled in Pedro Feliz. Carlos Marmol replaced Jeff Stevens, and Geoff Blum’s groundout scored Tommy Manzella. Michael Bourn then fouled out down the third base line to end the game with Marmol logging his 12th save.
Bourn walked and stole second to start the bottom of the first before scoring on Lance Berkman’s one-out single to center.
Ramirez homered to left with one out in the second, but Keppinger went deep to left with two down in the third for a 2-1 game.
Oswalt moved past Nolan Ryan and into sole possession of third place on the all-time franchise list for starts. Oswalt has 283 starts, behind only Larry Dierker (320) and Joe Niekro (301)…Dempster is 5-10 lifetime against the Astros. He didn’t have a win (0-2) in his previous six starts against Houston…The rubber match of the three-game series is Sunday with Randy Wells (3-3, 4.40) pitching for Chicago and Brett Myers (3-3, 3.22) for Houston.