Vizcaino's first homer of the season was a blast to right field that staked the Astros to a 6-2 lead. The Houston shortstop is hot, recording nine hits in his last 16 at-bats. He has four hits in 13 career at-bats against Prior (5-2) but entered the game with just four extra-base hits in 75 at-bats this season.
"I was fortunate to get a fastball on that first pitch," Vizcaino said. "We feel confident that we can get hits off any pitcher. We think we can hit anybody."
"I threw a fastball right down the middle, and that is what good hitters do with pitches like that," Prior said.
The early cushion gave Houston's
(1-1) room for error in his sixth career start. The 26-year-old righthander allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings with two walks and two strikeouts in his first career victory.
"When your guys can score some runs early, you can relax a little bit," Linebrink said. "I think my location got a little better as the game went on, but I was leaving some pitches up at times."
Prior surrendered a career-high seven runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six in his worst outing of the season.
"He was fine, it was fine," Cubs catcher
said. "He threw the same stuff he always does. He was a little more inconsistent than usual with his breaking ball and he was not throwing it for as many strikes as he usually does. Take away that first inning and he threw great."
"The bottom line tonight is that I didn't get the job done that I was supposed to do," Prior added. "I can't make any excuses for my performance. I could have gotten out of that first inning and I should have gotten out of that first inning, but they were laying off some pretty good curveballs that I usually get."
The Cubs broke on top, 2-0, in the top of the first when
singled with one out and scored on
's ninth homer. Patterson has hits in 13 of 14 games with four homers and 16 RBI.
But the Astros took advantage of some sloppy defense and came up with some timely hitting in their half of the inning. Biggio led off and reached on an error by shortstop Martinez.
singled and a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position.
"If you had asked me before the game if we were going to score six runs in the first inning off Prior, I'd have said no way," Astros acting manager
said. "It was good for us to have Viz get that hit when it did."
"We've just got to keep trying to get some big innings together and not worry about who is out there pitching against us," Vizcaino added.
The Cubs left two runners on in the third but scored twice in the fourth. Bellhorn doubled with one out and Miller walked. After Prior popped out,
delivered an RBI double and Martinez a run-scoring single.
Martinez went 4-for-4 with a walk for his second career four-hit game.
Prior got Bagwell to bounce into a bases-loaded double play to end the fourth and keep Chicago within 6-4.
An RBI single by Kent in the seventh ended Prior's night and Wagner inherited a 7-4 cushion in the ninth. The Astros' closer got
to open the inning, but singles by Grudzielanek and Martinez brought the tying run to the plate.
Wagner struck out Patterson on three pitches before former teammate
singled in a run. With the tying run at first base, Wagner struck out
on three pitches.
Wagner has converted nine straight chances and with 194 career saves is five away from tying
's team record.
Tamarago subbed for Houston manager
, who is attending his daughter's high school graduation in Florida.