- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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The Chicago Cubs won their second consecutive road series with a 5-1 victory Wednesday against the Houston Astros. It was the last time the Cubs and Astros played as National League foes in Houston as the Astros are set to join the American League next season.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Travis Wood pitched well for the second consecutive start, giving up one run over 7 2/3 innings. Alfonso Soriano reached the 96-RBI mark with a home run and a run-scoring double. His homer was his 29th of the season. Welington Castillo and Anthony Recker also drove in runs.
WHAT IT MEANS: After losing eight consecutive starts, Wood has rebounded to win his last two in impressive fashion. Before he gave up one run against the Astros on Wednesday, he had pitched six scoreless innings against the Pirates on Friday. The Cubs actually lost in 10 consecutive games Wood pitched before Friday, but he allowed three runs or less in six of those outings.
OUTSIDE THE BOX: There was another scary incident with a comebacker Wednesday. The Cubs’ Dave Sappelt hit a line drive up the middle in the eighth inning that hit Astros pitcher Mickey Storey on the right side of his jaw. Storey never lost consciousness but was immediately removed from the game. The incident comes one week after A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy suffered a skull fracture when he was hit on the side of his head by a line drive.
OFF BEAT: Soriano won’t win the Gold Glove this year, but he continues to show the amazing advancement he made on defense this season. Soriano went up against the scoreboard in left field to make a leaping catch in the fifth inning and got the ball back to the infield in time to finish off a double play at first base.
UP NEXT: The Cubs have an off day Thursday before opening a four-game series against the Pirates on Friday. Cubs left-hander Chris Rusin (0-2, 5.73 ERA) will take on Pirates right-hander James McDonald (12-7, 3.93) in the 1:20 p.m. start from Wrigley Field.