Burke, Pettitte lift Astros, help end Cubs' hot streak

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chris Burke got on the bases Tuesday night and kept running.

Burke homered, had three singles, walked and scored five runs to tie a club record, helping Andy Pettitte and the Houston Astros
beat the Chicago Cubs 9-2.

"Tonight was a fun night," said Burke, who two days ago had to leave a game after being hit in the elbow with a pitch. "I was able to get on base and score some runs. Guys in the middle were swinging the bat great."

Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson did just that, driving in three runs each for Houston.

Pettitte (6-7) earned his first career victory over the Cubs, retiring 12 straight after he was struck by Juan Pierre's line drive leading off the third inning. The veteran lefty did not give up another hit until Phil Nevin's leadoff homer in the seventh.

"I was glad after I took that shot on the inside of my [right] leg I was able to stay in the game," Pettitte said. "I had a few nicks and bruises tonight. It's crazy the way that works."

Houston has won six of its last seven to move back over the .500 mark for the first time since May 30.

The Cubs, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on three straight singles before Dan Wheeler struck out Nevin and got Matt Murton on a
grounder to third.

"Just a tough day for us," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said, summing up the loss.

Pierre's liner smacked Pettitte so hard the ball ricocheted to Berkman at first. He tried to flip to a limping Pettitte, who couldn't get to the bag in time as the speedy Pierre reached on
an infield single.

Pettitte then threw some warmup pitches to make sure he was OK, stayed in the game and actually got stronger until the seventh. Now 1-2 in seven career starts against the Cubs, Pettitte walked one and struck out five while throwing 116 pitches.

"It seems like if I have a little something nagging me or whatever, it seems like I sometimes pitch better," Pettitte said.

"I think that's his problem. He's been feeling too good," joked Astros manager Phil Garner. "So we're going to take him out and whack him a few times before his next start."

Burke's second homer of the season, a solo shot, got the Astros started in the first, and Berkman's two-run double knocked Chicago rookie Sean Marshall (3-5) out in the fifth as Houston built a 5-0 lead.

"We've had a good rhythm lately offensively," Burke said. "We've been scoring some runs."

The Astros also scored two in the second on RBI singles by Jason Lane and Wilson.

"It was pretty much just me tonight. I fell behind hitters early and found trouble," Marshall said.

Wilson hit another RBI single, off Angel Guzman in the seventh, to make it 6-0.

Houston tacked on three more runs in the top of the ninth as Berkman had an RBI single and Wilson a run-scoring double. Burke scored his fifth run in the ninth to equal the mark done three times by Craig Biggio, the last in 1996 at Colorado.

Marshall allowed seven hits and five runs in four-innings plus and lost his fourth straight decision. His disappointing outing came six days after he gave up just four hits and a run in seven innings against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Game notes
Cubs catcher Michael Barrett said that Friday is a possible hearing date for the appeal of his 10-game suspension for punching
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and setting off a brawl last month. ... Roy Oswalt was activated off the disabled list Tuesday night and will start Wednesday night's game. It will be his start since May 29. He's been bothered by a sore back. ... Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg sat out his third straight game with a bruised shoulder but said he hopes to play Wednesday night. ... Rehabbing Cubs right-hander Mark Prior pitched 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa in a game at New Orleans on Tuesday night and looked like he might be ready to come off the disabled list soon. Prior allowed four hits and an unearned run while walking one and striking out 10. ... Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis led the singing during the seventh-inning stretch.