Cubs rally late from 1-0 down

HOUSTON (AP) -- Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs have been

playing so well on the road lately, they might want to stay in a

hotel when they return home.

The Houston Astros, on the other hand, could use a one-way

ticket out of town for a few days.

Maddux earned his 295th win Wednesday night, pitching the Cubs

past the slumping Astros 4-1 for their fifth straight victory on

this seven-game road trip.

"Obviously, the breaks are going for us," Chicago catcher Paul

Bako said. "We're getting great pitching and timely hitting just

like we thought we would in spring training."

Todd Hollandsworth's RBI triple sparked a two-run eighth for the

Cubs. Maddux (6-5) befuddled the Astros, allowing only one run and

eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.

The Astros have lost three in a row to Chicago and five of their

last six, a tailspin that has left them in fifth place in the NL

Central. A crowd of 36,225 booed the Astros throughout the night,

an unusual occurrence from Houston's normally placid fans.

"Obviously, times are tough now," said Houston first baseman

Jeff Bagwell, who went 3-for-4. "Everyone starts feeling sorry for

themselves. But if you're a team that believes in yourself, you go

out and fix it. I still believe we're as good as anybody around."

Bako doubled in speedy Corey Patterson for the tying run in the

seventh and Walker drove in Bako with a sacrifice fly, giving the

Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Aramis Ramirez, who hit a tying single in Chicago's ninth-inning

rally Tuesday night, led off the eighth with a single.

Hollandsworth followed with a shot to deep center, which Craig

Biggio let slip out of his glove as he crashed into the wall trying

to avoid the man-made hill in center.

While Biggio scrambled to get up and make the play, Ramirez

raced home and Hollandsworth made it to third.

Derrek Lee's sacrifice fly scored Hollandsworth.

"This was a great game by Maddux," Cubs manager Dusty Baker

said. "We were behind 1-0 a long time tonight, but (Maddux) just

kept pitching and we just kept plugging and plugging until we got a

couple of runs."

Maddux got off to a rocky start in the first, giving up three

hits, including an RBI single to Lance Berkman that put the Astros

on top 1-0.

But the four-time Cy Young Award winner found his groove, and he

didn't allow an Astro past first base the rest of the night.

Mike Remlinger pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings, and LaTroy Hawkins

got three outs for his seventh save.

"When the pitchers on this team keep us in the game," Maddux

said, "we're going to win a lot of close games. Our hitters are

going to hit."

Tim Redding (3-6), who's struggled all season in the fifth

starter's spot for Houston, had one of his best outings despite

taking the loss.

He gave up two runs -- when he clearly tired in the seventh -- and

eight hits in seven innings. He retired 11 of 12 batters during one


Moises Alou feigned being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded

in the fifth, and plate umpire Darren Spagnardi waved in Maddux for

the tying run, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd.

Houston manager Jimy Williams immediately stormed out of the

dugout in protest and the umpires congregated before reversing the

call -- replays showed that Redding's pitch actually hit Alou's bat.

Redding forced Alou to pop up to right fielder Jason Lane for

the final out of the inning, earning a standing ovation as he

walked off the mound.

However, those cheers turned to boos as the Cubs started to

smack Redding's pitches around the field in the seventh.

"I was fortunate it wasn't worse than it was, especially after

that fifth inning," Redding said. "I didn't feel I was all there


Neither was Houston's offense.

The Astros, the NL's top-hitting team, had eight hits but left

eight on base a night after stranding 12.

The Astros haven't scored more than five runs in 15 games, nine

of them losses.

"This team stood behind me when I was struggling to go three

innings," Redding said, "so I'm certainly going to stand behind

them. This team is just going to take off. It's still one of the

best in the major leagues."Game notes
Patterson ended the Astros' final scoring threat in the

eighth with a spectacular, over-the-shoulder, leaping catch in

center. ... Bagwell returned to the lineup after sitting out

Tuesday night following a cortisone shot on his chronically achy

right shoulder.