The Houston Astros have won one road series all season. As they try to duplicate that feat Wednesday against Chicago, they'll send a pitcher to the mound who has not won since beating the Cubs nearly three months ago.
Bud Norris looks to end a 12-start winless stretch as the teams with the two worst records in the NL Central conclude a three-game series.
The Astros (39-79) won for the third time in 28 games outside Houston on Tuesday night, beating the Cubs 10-1 while reaching double digits in runs for the fourth time in 2012 and handing Chicago (45-70) its 12th loss in 14 games.
Houston is 12-47 away from home, with its only consecutive victories coming April 25-27. It's won two games in a road series once - in Chicago from June 8-10, but against the White Sox.
Norris (5-9, 4.93 ERA) may not be the ideal candidate to lead the Astros to consecutive road victories. The right-hander is 0-7 with an 8.00 ERA in nine starts away from Minute Maid Park since beating Pittsburgh on May 11.
One of those defeats came at Wrigley Field on June 29, when he allowed four runs and seven hits - three homers - over six innings of a 4-0 loss. Norris did beat the Cubs in Houston on May 21, pitching seven scoreless innings in an 8-4 win.
That was his last victory, and he's 0-8 with a 6.51 ERA in 12 starts since.
The Astros were 0-11 in those outings before beating Miami 4-3 on Friday night, scoring twice in the ninth after Norris allowed all three runs over seven innings.
"It's been a long one for me," Norris said. "I've been throwing the ball as best I can and working hard and trying to get better, but I haven't caught that many breaks this year."
Norris will be opposed by Justin Germano (1-2, 3.28), who will be making his fourth start since being acquired from Boston on July 19. The right-hander has recorded a 4.50 ERA in the first three, giving up seven hits and six runs over 5 2-3 innings of a 10-8 home loss to Cincinnati on Friday.
Germano allowed a career-high 10 runs over 3 1-3 innings in his last start against Houston, which came April 21, 2008, while with San Diego. However, catcher Chris Snyder is the only Astro who has faced him, going 2 for 5.
Norris is 3-3 with a 2.52 ERA in seven appearances - six starts - versus the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano is 5 for 13 with two home runs and a double against him.
Fellow Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson struck out two more times Tuesday, making the rookie 2 for 24 with 15 strikeouts in seven games since he went 2 for 4 in his major league debut Aug. 5.
"Sometimes to survive, you have to hit rock bottom and get back up," manager Dale Sveum told the Cubs' official website. "This game is full of adversity. The guys who usually make it are able to handle the adversity and make adjustments. That's part of what we're doing this for in the evaluation process."
|August 07, 2012||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Left shoulder separation|
|August 02, 2012||Francisco Cordero||15-Day DL||Inflamed right big toe|
|July 31, 2012||Wilton Lopez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow tightness|
|July 15, 2012||Jed Lowrie||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|July 14, 2012||Jed Lowrie||Day-to-Day||Right ankle|
|July 08, 2012||Jason Castro||15-Day DL||Fluid in right knee|
|July 28, 2012||Matt Garza||15-Day DL||Stress reaction, right elbow|
|July 21, 2012||Matt Garza||Day-to-Day||Left game - right triceps cramp|
|June 16, 2012||Ryan Dempster||15-Day DL||Right lat tightness|
|June 13, 2012||Ian Stewart||60-Day DL||Left wrist surgery|
|June 02, 2012||Blake Parker||60-Day DL||Stress reaction in right elbow|
|May 19, 2012||Welington Castillo||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
CHICAGO (AP) -- David DeJesus has been haunted all season by unfavorable winds at Wrigley Field.
He got the best of the Friendly Confines on Wednesday.
DeJesus hit two home runs, Justin Germano breezed through six innings and the Chicago Cubs beat the Houston Astros 7-2 to win the three-game series.
Asked how many home runs he thinks he's missed out on this year, DeJesus, who now has four on the season, couldn't help but grin.
"The other day when I hit one against Bronson (Arroyo) and it was caught at the wall, I came running in and (manager Dale Sveum ) was like `You should have at least 10 right now,"' DeJesus said. "So when your manager's saying that, I'll take 10."
Starlin Castro also homered among his three hits for Chicago, which won for just the third time in 15 games. The Cubs avoided falling to a season-worst 26 games under .500.
Astros starter Bud Norris left the game after being hit in the left foot with a line drive in the fourth inning.
DeJesus' third-inning homer was his first in 54 career games at Wrigley Field. And he didn't waste any time notching his second career Wrigley homer, blasting the first pitch of his next at-bat out to center field.
"He finally hit those kind of balls when the wind was blowing out a little bit," Sveum said. "He's been snakebit on balls like that when the wind is blowing in. It's nice to finally see him get a couple."
He tied a career best with four hits and drove in three runs, reaching base five times. Astros reliever Chuckie Fick was booed in the sixth for intentionally walking DeJesus with runners on second and third.
Castro hit a two-run shot in the third, his 12th of the season, as Norris failed to win for a 13th consecutive start.
Norris (5-10) allowed six runs on eight hits over 3 1-3 innings and hasn't won since May 21.
Following DeJesus' second homer, Josh Vitters hit a liner up the middle that deflected off Norris' foot toward the third base bag. After two warm-up pitches, Norris bent over, shook his head toward the team trainer and exited the game. He was diagnosed with a left foot contusion.
"I knew with my landing foot it wasn't going to be pretty," Norris said. "I'm glad I came out because I didn't want to hurt it any worse than it was."
Germano (2-2) cruised through six innings before getting into trouble in the seventh. He was removed after giving up a single and a walk. James Russell entered in relief and loaded the bases, but escaped the jam giving up just one run.
Germano was charged with two runs on five hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out six, including the side in the fourth.
He adjusted to the conditions quickly after Scott Moore 's home run leading off the second inning.
"I wasn't really aware of it until that ball went out, I thought it was a fly ball off the bat," Germano said. "It was a reminder that I had to be more aggressive down in the zone. The wind, you don't really know what's gonna happen."
Moore's homer was his second in as many days. He had three extra-base hits in Tuesday's 10-1 win.
Jose Altuve had three singles for Houston, but Marwin Gonzalez followed by hitting into a double play all three times.
The Astros, owners of the worst record in baseball, have dropped 26 of their last 29 road games and are 12-48 away from home this season.
Chicago's Brett Jackson tied the game at 1 with a two-out triple in the second inning. The low liner skipped past center fielder Brandon Barnes and Castro trotted home from third.
It was Jackson's first career RBI. He also doubled in the sixth. The 24-year-old has struggled since being called up from Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 5. He was just 4 for 28 with 16 strikeouts before the triple.
Notes: The Cubs fired vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita. Fleita had been with the organization since 1995. . Astros RHP Francisco Cordero flew to Miami to complete his U.S. Citizenship. Cordero has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 3 with a sprained toe ligament. He was acquired from Toronto on July 20. . After an off-day Thursday, Travis Wood (4-8, 4.52 ERA) pitches the series opener for the Cubs in Cincinnati against the Reds' Bronson Arroyo (8-7, 3.95). . Dallas Keuchel (1-4, 5.29) will start for Houston at home on Friday against Arizona's Wade Miley (12-8, 3.02).