Cubs Fall to Astros; Their 9th Loss in a Row

Houston 5, Chicago 1

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Chicago Cubs' Reed Johnson connects for a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 23, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

    J.D. Martinez had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night to complete the series three-game sweep and give Chicago its longest losing streak in more than a decade.

    The Cubs have lost nine straight for the first time since dropping the same number of games from May 8-18 2002.

    Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (4-4) allowed eight hits and a run with five strikeouts in seven innings. The victory is the 77th of his career, moving him into sole possession of second place in franchise history for wins by a left-hander.

    Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (4-3) yielded six hits and two runs with four strikeouts in six innings.

    Chicago was up 1-0 in the fourth inning before Martinez's triple, which fell as Darwin Barney and David DeJesus bumped into each other and tumbled to the ground trying to make the catch, put Houston on top 2-1.

    It was the second consecutive night that Martinez drove in the go-ahead run after hitting an RBI single in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's 2-1 win.

    His two-out RBI single to center field in the eighth inning off reliever Rafael Dolis added an insurance run for the Astros. Dolis walked the next two batters to send another run home, before plunking Jose Altuve to allow Martinez to score.

    Martinez, who added a single in the sixth, is rebounding from a tough month at the plate, with four of his nine hits and four of six RBIs in May coming in the last two games.

    Reed Johnson provided Chicago's only score on a solo home run in the first inning.

    Samardzija didn't allow a hit until Jason Castro doubled with one out in the third inning. Altuve walked with two outs, but Jed Lowrie struck out to end the threat.

    Johnson put Chicago on top with his solo home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field with one out in the first inning. When Houston didn't score in the first, it left the Cubs ahead at the end of an inning for the first time in 60 innings.

    Cubs manager Dave Sveum missed Wednesday's game to attend the high school graduation of his son, Rustin. Bench coach Jamie Quirk managed the game with him away, but was unable to help the Cubs to a win for the first time since May 14.