Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Astros 1

The Chicago Cubs’ 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday means they have won their last four games on their 10-game road trip after losing the first four.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Dave Sappelt made the most of a second consecutive start with a career high three RBIs. He had an RBI double in the second inning and a two-run double in the seventh. To round out the night, he also scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning. Chris Volstad was running out of gas quickly, but gave up just one run on four hits over five innings. He did walk five.

WHAT IT MEANS: With Reed Johnson’s trade to the Atlanta Braves earlier this season, the Cubs have an opening for a fourth outfielder who can hit lefties. Sappelt has made a case for the role over the past two days. Getting a chance to start in consecutive days against a pair of left-handers, Sappelt has delivered three hits to go along with his three RBIs. Not to be outdone, Joe Mather also started in each of the past two days and delivered five hits.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: The Cubs’ four-game winning streak on the road is their longest away from home since a five-game run July 31-Aug. 4 of last season. The Cubs also matched their longest winning streak of the season overall, something they have done two previous times (June 29-July 2 and July 8-15). The Cubs had just one road victory over their past 16 road games before the current win streak started.

OFF BEAT: Alfonso Soriano walked twice in Monday’s game, just the fourth time he has walked two times in a game this season. In fact, two of those four occasions have come in Soriano’s last 12 games. He also walked twice in an Aug. 30 victory over the Brewers. Three of his two-walk games have come since Aug. 15.

UP NEXT: The Cubs will send right-hander Justin Germano (206, 6.95 ERA) to the mound Tuesday at Houston in the middle game of the three-game series. The Astros will counter with right-hander Jordan Lyles (3-11, 5.55) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Minute Maid Park.