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Cubs hope to halt slide against Astros

Right-hander Matt Garza becomes the latest Chicago pitcher to have a chance at ending a skid tonight when the Cubs visit Minute Maid Park for the first of three games with the Houston Astros.

The Cubs dropped their sixth in a row on Sunday at Wrigley Field, when Jake Peavy tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings while Gordon Beckham, Adam Dunn and Tyler Flowers all hit solo home runs as the Chicago White Sox blanked them, 6-0, in the finale of a three-game interleague set.

Paul Maholm (4-3) was charged with five runs on nine hits for the Cubs.

"After going through a pretty good two-week stretch, now we're at a week stretch of no wins and getting swept by the White Sox at home is about as low as you're going to get," manager Dale Sveum said.

Garza, who won 10 games in 31 starts in his initial season with Chicago after a trade from Tampa Bay, has won two of three decisions across seven starts in 2012 in which the Cubs have gone 3-4.

He defeated Milwaukee with 8 2/3 innings of scoreless, three-hit ball on April 12, then topped Philadelphia with another seven innings of shutout ball while giving up one hit and striking out 10 on April 29.

He allowed six runs in five innings of a 9-1 loss at Miami on April 18, but hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of six other starts, leading to a 2.58 earned run average and a .249 opposition batting average through 45 1/3 innings.

Garza is winless in four career meetings with Houston.

For the Astros, righty Bud Norris was 1-1 in his initial five starts this season and has since won three consecutive outings.

The California native had a 5.46 earned run average over those first 31 1/3 innings, but has given up just 10 hits and two runs in 19 innings with 21 strikeouts.

The most recent start was an 8-3 defeat of Milwaukee on May 16 in which Norris had nine strikeouts in seven innings.

He is 2-2 in five career appearances against the Cubs.

On Sunday in Houston, Colby Lewis dazzled the Astros' hitters, surrendering just one run over eight-plus innings to lead Texas to a 6-1 win in the finale of a three-game interleague set.

Jordan Lyles (0-1) was tagged for all six runs on nine hits over five frames as Houston fell for the sixth time in nine games.

The Cubs won eight of 15 meetings with the Astros in 2011 and split six meetings in Houston.