He'll try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss while the visiting Cubs seek their first five-game winning streak of the season Tuesday night against the Houston Astros .
Germano (2-6, 6.95 ERA) has a dismal 11.09 ERA over his last four starts after giving up seven runs in four innings of Thursday's 9-2 loss at Washington, his shortest start of the season. He's allowed at least five runs in each outing during his slump as opponents have hit .369.
His last victory came against Houston on Aug. 15, when he allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-2 win. Germano's only lifetime start in Houston was the worst of his career, though, as he gave up a career-high 10 runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings while pitching for San Diego on April 21, 2008.
Chicago (55-86) hopes this outing goes much better as it seeks to win five straight for the first time since a seven-game run July 31-Aug. 6, 2011.
The Cubs swept Pittsburgh over the weekend, then beat the Astros 4-1 in Monday's series opener. Dave Sappelt doubled twice and finished with three RBIs as Chicago ended a five-game losing streak in Houston.
Manager Dale Sveum said the Cubs are conscious of their record and are hoping to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since the 1966 team went 59-103."Those guys are starting to understand how close that 100 losses is," Sveum said. "That's the goal. That's the talk now and obviously they're responding now."
The Astros (44-97), meanwhile, have lost 10 of their last 11 at home and are inching closer to their second consecutive 100-loss campaign. Houston interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said his young players need to start capitalizing on opportunities.
Houston will look to bounce back with help from Jordan Lyles , though it has lost 18 of his 21 starts.
Lyles (3-11, 5.55) had another rough outing last Tuesday, giving up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at Pittsburgh."I think it comes down to delivery," Lyles said. "I've got to work on being better out of the stretch, and (Tuesday) it wasn't there."
The right-hander, though, has been better at home, going 2-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 10 outings compared to 1-7 with a 6.95 ERA in 11 road starts. Both of Lyles' career outings versus the Cubs were in Chicago last season, as he delivered two quality starts without earning a decision.
The teams combined for 14 walks, two hit batters, three wild pitches and 24 left on base in Monday's series opener.
|September 07, 2012||Blake Parker||60-Day DL||Bone contusion in right elbow|
|September 07, 2012||Brett Jackson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right knee|
|July 28, 2012||Matt Garza||60-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|
|September 07, 2012||Jose Altuve||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left abdominal|
|August 30, 2012||Marwin Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Torn ligament, left ankle|
|August 28, 2012||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
|August 22, 2012||Justin Maxwell||Day-to-Day||Bruised right index finger|
|August 07, 2012||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Left shoulder separation|
|August 07, 2012||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Left shoulder separation|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Tony DeFrancesco believes rewarding his team for good performances is important.
So Houston's interim manager decided he would gift a pair of $200 headphones to one standout player in each Astros win.
He left the ballpark Tuesday night $1,000 lighter after handing out five pairs due to all the contributions in the 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs .
"I want these guys to understand that performance is important here and keeping the culture in here and keeping the life," he said of his last-place team. "It's been a rough season for some of these guys and they've been beat down for almost two years and I'm just trying to keep them positive and keep the energy."
Justin Maxwell , who drove in the game's only run on a sacrifice fly and made a play that kept Chicago from tying the game got a pair. Relievers Wilton Lopez , Wesley Wright , Xavier Cedeno and Jose Valdez also snagged the headphones.
Jimmy Paredes singled and scored an unearned run in the third inning to help in the win.
It was an otherwise tough night for the second baseman, who committed three errors. Paredes has started the last three games at second base with All-Star Jose Altuve out with an abdominal strain.
Houston starter Jordan Lyles (4-11) scattered two hits and struck out five in five innings and five relievers completed the shutout. Lopez allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.
It was the first six-pitcher shutout for the Astros since Houston used six pitchers in a no-hitter against the Yankees on June 11, 2003, and just the third in franchise history.
The bullpen combined to allow four hits and struck out six.
The last error by Paredes came in the seventh inning, and DeFrancesco lifted him for Altuve to start the eighth.
Cubs starter Justin Germano (2-7) allowed three hits and tied a career high with eight strikeouts. He lost his fifth straight start.
Paredes singled with one out in the third before Fernando Martinez reached on an error by catcher Steve Clevenger when he threw the ball over the head of first baseman Bryan LaHair .
Brett Wallace walked to load the bases and Houston took the lead on a sacrifice fly by Justin Maxwell .
The Cubs went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position to break a season-high-tying four-game winning streak.
"It was a shame we got that kind of pitching from everybody and had plenty of chances to score and couldn't get a hit when it counted it," Chicago manager Dale Sveum said.
Two walks and a single by LaHair loaded the bases for the Cubs with one out in the second. They came away empty when Germano grounded into a forceout that left Clevenger out at home before Lyles struck out David DeJesus .
Another missed opportunity came in the sixth when Starlin Castro singled before a one-out double by pinch-hitter Dave Sappelt . But pinch-hitter Darwin Barney was out on a fly ball to Maxwell in center field and his throw to third beat Sappelt for the double play before Castro made it home.
"I was really surprised that he went," Maxwell said of Sappelt. "I knew I had no shot at the plate and I kind of peeked as I was catching the ball and I thought he was going to stop running all the way to third, but he kept going and (Matt) Dominguez made a great tag and got him out."
Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo was injured in the third inning in a collision with Brett Wallace . Rizzo hit a grounder to Paredes in the third inning, and his throw to first was high, causing Wallace to jump to try and catch it. Rizzo collided with Wallace while he was in the air and tumbled violently to the ground.
He remained on the dirt for a minute while trainers looked at him. He finally sat up and slowly walked off the field with the help of the trainers. He has a sore right shoulder and upper back and the Cubs are going to monitor him for the next couple of days.
"I was just stunned, dazed, at first. That's why at first I didn't move," Rizzo said. "I'm more sore than anything ... it was an ugly fall."
NOTES: Houston activated SS Jed Lowrie before Monday night's game, but he did not play. He has been on the DL since July 15 with an injured nerve in his right leg. ... Castro had an error in the eighth inning, his 24th of the season, which is the most among NL shortstops.