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Houston put the first two men on in the third, but Downs was thrown out at third with Norris attempting to bunt, dousing the rally. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro ended the inning by roaming behind second to flag down Bixler's grounder and throw him out.
Bixler hit a long drive to center in the sixth, but David DeJesus leaped into the ivy to pull it down. The Cubs nearly doubled off Norris, who had walked, but Castro's relay throw was wild past first, allowing Norris to move to third.
NOTES: SS Jed Lowrie was out of the lineup to rest following the Astros' difficult 7-3 loss to the Padres on Thursday night, but hit in the eighth. 2B Jose Altuve sat out a fifth straight game (right hamstring). ... Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster, on the DL with a lat injury, played catch and hopes to throw off the mound sometime this weekend. ... Astros 1B Carlos Lee got hit in the groin area by a hard-hopper off the bat of Anthony Rizzo in the ninth but was able to regroup and stay in the game.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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