Miller pitched a two-hitter and struck out a career-high 14 batters as the
rolled to a 9-1 rout of the Cubs.
Coming off a loss to the Cubs in his last start, Miller (3-6) looked like a different pitcher. The righthander allowed a single to
in the third inning and solo homer to
in the fifth while overpowering the Cubs en route to his fifth career complete game.
"I just think I had my location today,"
said. "I was able to locate my fastball and breaking pitches, something I hadn't been able to do most of the season."
One Cub that
had his way with was Sosa, who returned to the lineup after missing nearly three weeks following toe surgery. Sosa struck out three times and fouled out to end the game.
"I'm happy he was a little rusty because he's such a great hitter,"
said. "I'm not so sure I would have the same success against him if he had been back for a while."
"I felt a little rusty out there, no question about it," Sosa said. "And when you're facing a pitcher like Miller, you have to be on top of your game. On my last at-bat, I felt some of my timing coming back. I think I'll be much better tomorrow."
's previous high for strikeouts in a game was 13 against St. Louis on April 22, 2001. His big effort also was the Astros' first complete game of the season.
"The most important thing is that Wade's game saved our bullpen," Astros center fielder
said. "Our guys have been pretty much overworked out there but they're tired. The other part is that Wade pitched like himself today."
's batterymate, paced the offense with a three-run double in the fourth to give the Astros a 4-0 lead.
(5-4), who won his fourth straight start Sunday at Houston, was ripped for eight runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"I think what basically happened to me was that I lost control of my breaking pitch," Estes said. "You're not going to get these guys out with fastballs all the time. I don't think they pounded me but that's no excuse. I didn't keep the team in the game."
The Cubs fell to 1-3 on a season-high 12-game homestand.
virtually had everything to do with the Cubs' latest loss that saw their lead atop the National League Central Division reduced to one game over the Astros. He struck out at least one batter in every inning and fanned multiple hitters in five frames.
"Number one, he had outstanding control today," Cubs manager
said. "It looked like he could throw any of his pitches anytime for a strike. You know an outstanding pitcher like Miller isn't going to pitch poorly all year. You couldn't pitch better than he did today."
In the ninth,
has the rare opportunity of striking out four batters in an inning when
fanned and reached on a wild pitch. But Sosa popped weakly to Ausmus to end the game.
all the offense he needed with a solo homer with one out in the second. Two innings later, the Astros added four runs to open a 5-0 bulge.
singled with one out and Ensberg walked before
reached on an infield hit to load the bases. Ausmus followed by ripping a three-run double into the left-center field gap. After
grounded out, Estes uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Ausmus to score the Astros' fifth run.
"It was nice to contribute offensively for a change," said Ausmus, who entered the game in 1-for-19 slump and was hitting just .196 on the season. "Throughout my career I've been prone to long slumps. So to be able to help us win a ballgame today is a good feeling in that sense."
In the fifth, the Astros again pushed across four runs, extending the lead to 9-0. Berkman delivered an RBI single, Hunter plated two runs with a double and an error by shortstop
allowed another run to score.
Patterson produced the Cubs' only run with a solo homer, his 11th, with one out in the bottom of the inning.