Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

Chicago leads 1-0 (as of 5/24)

Game 1: Friday, May 24
Chicago 5Final
in 11
Houston 4
Game 2: Saturday, May 25
Chicago 5Final
Houston 1
Game 3: Sunday, May 26
Chicago 5Final
Houston 7

Cubs 5

(18-28, 9-13 away)

Astros 4

(21-26, 13-10 home)

    8:05 PM ET, May 24, 2002

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    1234567891011 R H E
    CHC 20000001002 5 - -
    HOU 10000001101 4 - -

    W: P. Mahomes (1-0)

    L: B. Wagner (0-1)

    S: J. Borowski (2)

    McGriff, Alou lead Cubs to fourth straight win

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Moises Alou's return to Houston was a big success.

    Fred McGriff

    Moises Alou

    Fred McGriff and Alou each had RBI singles in the 11th inning off Billy Wagner, leading the Chicago Cubs to their fourth straight victory, 5-4 over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

    The Astros lost their fifth in a row after winning seven straight. The Cubs have won five of six after breaking out of a nine-game losing streak.

    Alou, who left the Astros after last season and signed with the Cubs, played against his old teammates for the first time and got a key hit despite coming into the game hitting only .179.

    "I was looking forward to coming back and seeing my ex-teammates,'' Alou said. "I had a great time here, my best friends are in this city. I stay in touch with them. It was good to see them.

    "It makes me feel good to help the team win. I have no hard feelings. I'm just thankful I could play here four years.''

    Chris Stynes led off the 11th against Wagner (0-1) with a single and went to third on a single by Sammy Sosa. McGriff followed with the go-ahead single and Alou's single scored Sosa to make it 5-3.

    "Those guys are great ball players,'' Wagner said. "There's almost a 1,000 home runs between them. You go out and pray to God they get themselves out. Mo, we saw when he was here, he could get out of bed and get a hit and McGriff is a Hall of Famer.''

    Jeff Bagwell, one of Alou's best friends on the Astros, didn't see revenge in Alou's hit.

    "He's not like that,'' Bagwell said. "There's no animosity there. Moises Alou is just like he is. He's a great hitter. He knows what his name is. He knows what he is.''

    Pat Mahomes (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory. Joe Borowski relieved Mahomes with two on and two outs and allowed an RBI single to Lance Berkman before getting Bagwell to fly out for his second save.

    "We still have a ways to go, we've got things to clean up,'' Chicago manager Don Baylor said. "We have to start winning our share of the close games. I told our guys to stay focused like we did against the Pirates. Don't try to get it back in one week.''

    Trailing 3-2 in the ninth, the Astros tied the score against closer Antonio Alfonseca, who blew his first save in eight chances. Geoff Blum led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino. After Julio Lugo struck out, Craig Biggio's single tied the game at 3.

    Jon Lieber, who lost his previous three decisions, pitched into the eighth inning for the Cubs. He allowed a solo homer to Biggio in the first inning and then settled down, giving up six hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

    Tim Redding, hoping to remain on the roster when injured starter Wade Miller returns, got off to a rough start, allowing two runs in the first inning on an RBI single by McGriff and a sacrifice fly by Alou.

    "I had a tough first inning but I felt pretty good tonight. It's always nice to see the team come back twice like that,'' Redding said.

    After giving up two hits to start the second, Redding retired the next 15 batters, including two strikeouts of Sosa, who hit three homers off him Sept. 23.

    Redding gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four.

    The Cubs extended their lead to 3-1 in the eighth on Sosa's sacrifice fly off Octavio Dotel.

    The Astros scored in the eighth on Daryle Ward's single off Jeff Fassero.

    "We kept fighting back,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "We're doing a lot of good things, it's just not showing up in the win column. That's how I perceive it. Redding pitched another outstanding game.''

    Game notes

    The Cubs have lost the season series with the Astros nine straight seasons. ... Sosa's nine homers in May give him 97 for his career, second highest monthly total. He has 98 career homers in August. ... Cubs leadoff hitter Corey Patterson has been successful in his last 16 stolen base attempts, including a first-inning theft. ... Miller, recovering from a pinched nerve in his neck, made his second rehab start at Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday. He threw 77 pitches, 49 for strikes. He allowed five hits and two earned runs. ... The Astros are 3-9 this season in one-run games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press