(Sports Network) -- The Chicago Cubs hope to build off a breakout performance on offense and claim a needed series win over the Houston Astros when the National League Central rivals conclude a three-game set today at Minute Maid Park.
Chicago's slumping lineup finally caught fire in last night's matchup, banging out 12 hits and getting home runs from Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin to come through with an 8-5 triumph over the Astros. The victory halted a four-game losing streak in which the Cubs mustered a mere five runs total.
Ramirez finished 3-for-4 with two RBI on the night, with both Colvin and Koyie Hill collected two hits and knocking in a pair of runs. Marlon Byrd added three hits, including an RBI double, for the Cubs, who had lost six of their last eight coming in.
Maybe the most impressive fact about Chicago's long-awaited outburst was that it took place against Houston ace Roy Oswalt. The Cubs put up six runs on nine hits in the three-time All-Star's seven-inning stint.
"It's bound to happen in 35 starts, you're going to have some bad ones," said Oswalt, who fell to 3-8 on the season. "It doesn't matter if you lose 1-0 or 6-0, you still lose."
Ryan Dempster (4-5) was more effective for Chicago, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out seven over the first 6 1/3 innings to win for only the second time in his past eight starts.
"It's nice when guys put up a bunch of runs like that," Dempster said afterward. "It gives us all a lot of breathing room. Now we have a chance to go out and win a series."
Houston, which had been gunning for a season-high fifth straight win, got all of its runs off Dempster via the long ball. Humberto Quintero had a two-run homer as part of a 2-for-4 night, with Jeff Keppinger contributing a solo shot in a losing cause.
Chicago could have a tougher time generating offense in the finale, with Brett Myers slated to take the hill for the Astros. The offseason free-agent signee has pitched to a 2.41 earned run average over his last six starts and is coming off a season-high 10-strikeout performance against Washington this past Tuesday.
Myers received a no-decision in that game after allowing four runs, only one of which was earned, but held theNationals to just four hits in seven innings. The right-hander has pitched six innings or more in all 11 of his starts this season.
The former Philadelphia Phillie has also fared well when facing the Cubs over the course of his career, bringing a 7-3 record with a 2.63 ERA in 13 lifetime appearances (nine starts) into today's clash. In addition, the Astros have come out on top in five of his six trips to the Minute Maid Park mound in 2010.
Chicago counters with Randy Wells, who's best work this season has come in games on the road. The sophomore righty is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in six away outings so far this year and yielded three runs or fewer in all but one of those assignments.
Wells tossed five shutout innings in his most recent road test, a no-decision at Pittsburgh on Monday. That outcome came three days after he failed to record an out in a May 28 loss to St. Louis at Wrigley Field, with theCardinals battering him for five runs on six consecutive hits.
The Illinois native performed sensationally in three starts against the Astros as a rookie last season, going 2-0 and surrendering only one unearned run over a combined 20 innings. Each of those encounters took place in Chicago, however.
Houston took two of three from the Cubs when these teams squared off in Chicago from April 16-18, but have lost seven of the last 11 tilts between the clubs held at Minute Maid Park.