Two Cubs-Astros games moved to Milwaukee; if needed, third set for Sept. 29

CHICAGO -- Two games between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros that were postponed this weekend in Houston because of Hurricane Ike will now be played in Milwaukee.

The Cubs and Astros will play at 7:05 p.m. CDT on Sunday and 1:05 p.m. on Monday at Miller Park, with Houston being the home team. If the third game of the series is needed, it will be Sept. 29 at Houston.

Chicago leads the NL Central and Houston is in the wild-card race. The three-game set that was scheduled to begin Friday night in Houston was called off as the hurricane approached the Texas coast.

"Our preference would be that the tragedy never happened to the state of Texas and we could've played the games on schedule, but once the storm came there didn't seem to be any alternative, and I think the Astros and the commissioner's office worked hand in hand to come up with the best short-term solution they could with all the weather problems we're having all over the country," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Saturday.

The Milwaukee Brewers play at Philadelphia on Sunday and are off Monday, making their ballpark available.

In April 2007, the Brewers hosted a series between the Indians and Angels that was moved because of inclement weather.

"Major League Baseball made the decision to move these games to Miller Park and given the lack of other viable options, we will be ready to serve as hosts," Brewers executive vice president Rick Schlesinger said.

The Cubs could have a decided home-field advantage in the Brewers' home park that is only 90 miles away. When they play Milwaukee on the road, the Cubs are often cheered by thousands of their own fans.

Tickets for the rescheduled game will range from $25 to $60. Only seats in the lower deck and loge levels will be available -- there are no tickets for the upper deck and bleachers.

Houston had hoped to play the games at home, especially after going on a 38-16 run that pulled the Astros within 2½ games of Milwaukee in the wild-card race.

The Cubs hold a six-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central.

The Cubs, who had an outdoor workout at Wrigley Field washed out by rain Saturday, played well at Miller Park in their last appearance in late July. That's when they swept four games from the Brewers, helping Chicago build its cushion in the NL Central.

The Astros came to Wrigley Field earlier this month and swept a three-game series from the Cubs.

The official announcement that the first two games would be moved came from the commissioner's office Saturday night.

Hendry said earlier, before the announcement, that the Cubs were ready for any eventuality.

"I told our guys today to come to Wrigley tomorrow morning and be ready to go tomorrow night," Hendry said.

"I certainly didn't have a destination for them, but that's what I told them at 3 o'clock today -- that they had to be prepared to be ready and be on a bus and be bussed to the airport, or bussed to play elsewhere, and be ready to play. That's how I had to approach it."