Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Aneury Rodriguez (0-2, 4.98) Chicago - Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, 0.00)
The Cubs took two of three meetings with Houston from April 11-13 at Minute Maid Park and have won five of the last nine matchups between the two ballclubs. The Astros went 11-7 in last season's series with the Cubs.
Chicago salvaged the finale of a three-game series versus Pittsburgh with Sunday's 3-2 win thanks to Starlin Castro's go-ahead sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third inning. Castro plated Kosuke Fukudome, who doubled to lead off the inning and went to third on Darwin Barney's sacrifice bunt. Aramis Ramirez homered and Koyie Hill drove in a run for the Cubs, who improved to 3-3 on the nine-game homestand.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster gave up two runs over six innings to earn the win.
"Dempster was great," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "It was just a good win. We played good baseball."
Rodrigo Lopez will make his Cubs debut Monday and was 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. The right-hander was acquired last week in a minor league trade with the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Ryan Buchter. Lopez made 33 starts for Arizona a year ago, compiling a 7-16 record with a 5.00 ERA, and is 1-2 in four career starts against Houston.
Lopez is expected to throw to catcher Geovany Soto, who was activated from the disabled list on Sunday with a groin injury.
Houston will begin a seven-game road trip Monday against the Cubs and Padres, and was swept in three games by the Diamondbacks over the weekend. In Sunday's 4-2 loss at Minute Maid Park, starter J.A. Happ pitched well in the no- decision and held Arizona to a run over six innings. Happ also homered for the first time in his career.
"At some point, we've got to find a way to win those games," Happ said on the team's website. "That's the way it goes. A tough one today, a tough series, but we've got to keep fighting and see what happens."
Relief pitcher Jeff Fulchino was saddled with the loss for allowing three runs in the top of the eighth inning with the Astros clinging to a slim 2-1 lead. Hunter Pence had two hits for Houston, which went 2-4 on a six-game homestand and lost for the 10th time in 14 tries.
Taking the mound for the struggling 'Stros Monday will be rookie Aneury Rodriguez. The righty is 0-2 in 14 games (5 starts) this season and last pitched in Wednesday's 2-1 win over Los Angeles. He did not record a decision that day and held the Dodgers to a run in six innings of work.
Rodriguez has lasted at least five innings in the past five trips to the mound and will make his first start against the Cubs. He has faced Chicago twice in relief this season, pitching 1 2/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA.