Cubs send Wood to the hill in Houston

Lefty Travis Wood makes his second start in a Chicago uniform tonight when the Cubs visit Minute Maid Park for game two of a three- game series with the hist Houston Astros.

A 25-year-old native of Little Rock, Ark., Wood was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Reds in 2005 and debuted with them in 2010 - ultimately winning 11 of 21 decisions in 39 appearances in two seasons.

He headed to Chicago in a Dec. 23, 2011 trade that sent three players to the Cubs in exchange for relief pitcher Sean Marshall, who's since become the Cincinnati closer after an injury to Ryan Madson.

Wood, meanwhile, made seven starts and split six decisions with Triple-A Iowa to begin the season before joining the rotation in place of Chris Volstad, who'd posted an 0-6 record with a 7.46 earned run average in eight starts.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder allowed three hits and three runs in six innings of a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 6 at Wrigley Field, walking three and striking out four in a game the Cubs ultimately won, 4-3.

He's split two decisions against Houston in five career starts.

For the Astros, it's 29-year-old lefty J.A. Happ, who gets a third chance this season to win a second straight decision.

He's been unsuccessful in trying to string together wins the first two times he tried, instead losing a 3-1 verdict to the Dodgers after beating Atlanta and losing to St. Louis after topping the New York Mets.

He was a 4-0 winner over Milwaukee in his most recent start on May 17, scattering seven hits in six scoreless innings with a walk and four strikeouts - lowering his earned run average from 5.72 to 4.96.

Happ is 0-1 in two lifetime starts against the Cubs.

On Monday, Bud Norris tossed seven shutout innings to guide the Astros to an 8-4 win.

Norris (5-1) gave up five hits and walked three while fanning eight.

Chris Johnson and Jason Castro each had three-run homers while Jed Lowrie recorded three hits, including a solo blast as Houston picked up its fourth win in six tries.

Blake Lalli drove in two runs while Reed Johnson and David DeJesus each had RBI singles in the ninth for the Cubs, losers in seven straight.

Matt Garza (2-2) lasted just three innings, and gave up seven runs on five hits.

"That was not Matt Garza pitching. It was strange," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's not the Matt Garza I've seen."

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