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Cubs Take Second Straight Over 'Stros, 8-3

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam and Marlon Byrd drove in three runs, as theCubs pounded the Astros, 8-3.

Carlos Zambrano (11-6) finished his tumultuous 2010 campaign on an eight- decision winning streak, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings for Chicago, which has won three straight, including the first two in this three-game series.

"I came back strong after the suspension and did what I had to do to be ready to finish the season like the way I have," Zambrano said. "It's been a good month and a half and I will use this to prepare for next season."

J.A. Happ (6-4) was tagged for eight runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits and five walks in just three-plus frames. The left-hander was winless in his final five starts of the season for Houston, which has dropped three in a row.

"It's tough to end the season on that one," a disappointed Happ said. "I'm not going to let it take away from what I feel like I accomplished this season. It's a loss and you try to learn from it but it is tough going into the off- season that way."

Byrd plated Jeff Baker with a groundout in the first inning, and Alfonso Soriano doubled home Starlin Castrolater in the frame.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the second and fourth frames, with Byrd knocking in a pair with a single in the former and Ramirez blasting his ninth career grand slam in the latter, ending Happ's outing.

Zambrano had his 19-inning scoreless streak snapped in the seventh when Hunter Pence scored on Chris Johnson's fielder's choice. Brett Wallace followed with a two-run double to the left-field gap, but that was as close as Houston got.

Chicago has surrendered three or fewer runs in 15 straight road games... Zambrano lowered his earned-run average from 5.61 to 3.33 since returning to the rotation on August 9...Chicago's bullpen has a streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings...Ryan Dempster will toe the rubber for the Cubs in the season finale on Sunday opposite Wandy Rodriguez.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.