Shawn Chacon pitched seven solid innings for his first win this season, breaking his major league record streak of nine straight no-decisions to start a season in Houston's 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
Carlos Lee's three-run homer in the third inning helped Chacon (1-0) overcome a rough start and avoid tying the overall record for consecutive starts without a decision
-- or worse, let his first decision be a loss.
It gives the Astros a 2-1 series win over their NL-Central rival and is Houston's ninth win in the last 13 games.
Derrek Lee hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give Chicago an early lead. Micah Hoffpauir doubled for his first major league hit before scoring on a double by Geovany Soto that made it 3-0.
Ryan Theriot singled with two outs in the second inning, but was picked off at first after drifting too far from the base. Chacon, in his first season in Houston after spending 2007 in Pittsburgh, then settled down and retired the next 12 batters, with four strikeouts.
He didn't allow another hit until Hoffpauir's double to lead off the seventh inning. He got the next three in a row out before he was replaced by Doug Brocail to start the eighth.
Brocail was perfect in the eighth and closer Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save. Valverde has not allowed a run in 17 straight appearances.
Miguel Tejada's grounder bounced off pitcher Sean Gallagher's right shin for a run-scoring single in the third inning that made it 3-1. Cubs trainers examined Gallagher's leg after the hit, but he remained in the game and appeared to be OK.
Carlos Lee's 10th homer of the year, to the Crawford Boxes in left field, scored Kaz Matsui and Tejada to put Houston on top 4-3.
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Lance Berkman was hit by a pitch and stole second base before scoring on a single by Geoff Blum that chased Gallagher and pushed the lead to 5-3 in the fifth inning.
He was replaced by Michael Wuertz, who walked two before fanning Chacon for the third out.
In his first career road start, Gallagher (1-1) allowed eight hits and five runs with four strikeouts in 4 2-3 innings.
Chacon, who has seven quality starts this season, allowed five hits and three runs with five strikeouts and a walk.
Notes: Theriot may have had the defensive play of the game when he fell backward into the left field stands to catch a would-be foul ball by Lee in the first inning. ... Hoffpauir was called up from Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. ... Mark DeRosa was 0-for-3 to break his career-high 11 game hitting streak.
[Associated Press; By KRISTIE RIEKEN]
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