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Friday, September 16, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Cubs 4, Astros 3 (12)

By Sahadev Sharma



Here's a quick look at the Cubs' 4-3 win over the Houston Astros on Friday.

How it happened: Matt Garza was dominant for much of the game, allowing only one run in the first eight innings, a solo home run by Carlos Lee. The Cubs carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth and manager Mike Quade stuck with Garza even after allowing a lead-off single to Jordan Shafer. After getting the next two batters, Garza looked headed towards a complete game gem, but Lee came through once again with a two-run shot that tied the game at three. The Cubs finally won in the 12th it when Starlin Castro scored on a bases loaded infield single off the bat of Marlon Byrd that seemed to be a foul ball.

What it means: Despite a rough ninth innings, it's clear that Garza has morphed himself into a different type of pitcher this season, relying less on his fastball than in years past. While Garza has always been a solid pitcher, the changes in strategy have led to the Cubs finding a potential staff ace for the next few seasons.

Outside the box: Castro led the game off with a walk, giving him 29 straight games in which he has reached base safely.

Next: Rodrigo Lopez (5-6, 5.04) takes on Henry Sosa (2-4, 5.02) as the Cubs take on the Astros in game two of a three-game set at 12:05 p.m. Saturday at Wrigley Field.