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Michaels leads Astros past Cubs in 12 innings

CHICAGO (AP) — Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels delivered a two-out, two-run double in the top of the 12th inning and the Houston Astros hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Wednesday.

Jeff Keppinger and Chris Johnson started the 12th with consecutive singles. After Jason Castro forced Keppinger at third with a bunt back to Bob Howry (1-3), James Russell relieved and Michael Bourn's grounder moved the runners to second and third.

Michaels greeted Jeff Stevens, the seventh Chicago reliever, with a drive into the alley in left-center. Angel Sanchez then singled in Michaels to make it 4-1.

Sanchez's third hit of the game proved to be important when Geovany Soto connected for a two-out, two-run homer off Gustavo Chacin in the bottom half, pulling the Cubs within one. Ryan Theriot then singled and pinch-hitter Jeff Baker walked before Tyler Colvin lined out to right, giving Chacin his first career save.

Chicago threatened in the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th but couldn't get the big hit and stranded 16 runners total.

The Cubs had second and third in the 11th before Brandon Lyon (6-4) got Derrek Lee to fly out. Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the 10th on a double by Starlin Castro and two walks before Lyon struck out Kosuke Fukudome and retired pinch-hitter Soto on a fly to left.

Houston tied it at 1 in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Pedro Feliz started the inning with a drive into the left-field bleachers off Chicago starter Ted Lilly.

After the teams combined for 37 runs while splitting the first two games of the series, the finale was a contrast for most of the day with a light wind blowing in at Wrigley Field as Lilly and Brett Myers locked up in a pitchers' duel.

Myers allowed five hits in seven innings, including Lilly's single in the fifth that snapped the pitcher's skid at 0 for 33 dating to last season. Lilly then motored all the way from first to score on Castro's two-out double to left.

Lilly, the subject of trade speculation, yielded seven hits in 7 1-3 innings, including two singles by Myers.

NOTES: Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell said he appreciates having his name mentioned as a possible successor for retiring manager Lou Piniella, adding it's too early to talk about that with more than two months left in the season. Piniella announced his retirement Tuesday. "There are a lot of names being speculated and I don't get into those games," said Trammell, who managed Detroit from 2003-05. He had a 186-300 record, including a 119-loss season in his first year. "Losing 119 games and you're almost part of baseball history in a negative way that certainly tests you in a lot of ways," Trammell said. Trammell, a star shortstop for the Tigers who also works with Cubs infielders, said he does want to continue to be involved in the game, whether it be coaching or managing.