HOW IT HAPPENED: Cubs starter Justin Germano pitched well but still ended up with his fifth consecutive defeat because of a lack of run support. Germano gave up just one run over five innings. Anthony Rizzo left in the third inning with a sore back and shoulder after a collision at first base. The Cubs were shut out for the 12th time this season and the first time since Aug. 12 against the Reds.
WHAT IT MEANS: Jeff Samardzija said last week that one of the advantages of a young roster will be the ability to stay healthy. The resiliency of youth has shown up twice on the road trip in the ability to advoid serious injury. First Brett Jackson experienced a scary moment when he collided with the center field fence at Pittsburgh. Then on Tuesday Rizzo escaped with only a sore back and shoulder after a violent collision while running to first base.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: Darwin Barney got at least five innings off Tuesday. The second baseman wasn’t in the starting lineup against the Astros’ left-handed starter, but he came on to pinch hit in the sixth inning. The late substitution means that Barney played only four innings while still adding another game to his consecutive errorless game streak, which is now at a National League record 127.
OFF BEAT: It was an interesting sixth inning for the Cubs, who had both a base-running blunder in the top of the inning and a run down that that went against them in the bottom of the inning. Starlin Castro tried to tag up and score from third base, but the run didn’t count when Dave Sappelt was thrown out at third while also trying to tag up. On defense, the Cubs got Justin Maxwell in a run down between first and second, but he advanced despite the fact that he ran out of the baseline and was tagged before arriving at second base.
UP NEXT: The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42 ERA) to the mound Wednesday at Houston in the finale of a three-game series. The Astros will counter with left-hander Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30) in the 7:05 p.m. start from Minute Maid Park. It will be the last game at Houston between the teams in National League play with the Astros set to move to the American League next season.