Right-hander Lucas Harrell can end his best major-league season with a win on Monday when the Houston Astros head to Wrigley Field to begin a three-game season-closing series with the Chicago Cubs.
A fourth-round pick of the crosstown Chicago White Sox in 2004, Harrell had exactly one major-league win in 17 appearances with the White Sox and Astros before this season, when he became a full-time starter.
He reached double-digit wins in 2012 with a 10-1 defeat of the Cubs on Aug. 14 in Chicago, scattering six hits and allowing a run in eight innings in his first start against them.
Harrell is 0-2 in six appearances since, losing two decisions to St. Louis and getting no-decisions against the New York Mets, Philadelphia and twice against Cincinnati.
Houston is 5-5 in Harrell's last 10 starts.
For the Cubs, right-hander Jason Berken makes his fourth appearance in a Chicago uniform and faces the Astros for the first time in his 110th big- league outing.
The 28-year-old Wisconsin native began the season with the Baltimore Orioles and made one relief appearance for them on May 7, then was picked up on waivers by the Cubs on Sept. 7.
He's started twice and relieved once for his new team, combining to allow 12 runs in 19 hits in 14 innings against Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Colorado.
Opponents are hitting .328 against him in 14 National League innings, 13 points above his career mark for 244 major-league innings.
On Sunday in Milwaukee, Jordan Lyles notched his first major league shutout and home run as the Astros eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers from playoff contention with a 7-0 win in the finale of a three-game series.
Lyles (5-12), aided by double plays in the first, second and fourth innings, faced the minimum through five. In all, the 21-year-old righty gave up four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
"He was in total control the whole game," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "He had a little more fire in his eyes."
Fernando Martinez, Jed Lowrie and Matt Dominguez also hit solo homers while Carlos Corporan added a two-run single for the major league-worst Astros, who took two of three in this set.
In Arizona, Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and scored two runs as the Cubs downed the Diamondbacks, 7-2.
Bryan LaHair had two RBI and David DeJesus stroked a solo homer for the Cubs, who but the brakes on a seven-game skid.
Chris Rusin (2-3) allowed two runs - one earned - on three hits and struck out four over five innings.
"If we're going to win one, it might as well be the last one on the West Coast," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing ever."
The Cubs won seven of the first 12 games between the teams in 2012, including two of three in a series between Sept. 10-12 in Houston.