Astros close NL stay in finale with Cubs

The Houston Astros will face the Chicago Cubs for the 704th and final time as National League foes Wednesday when they end the 2012 regular season with the finale of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Houston, which is 168-183 at Wrigley since debuting there 50 years ago in April 1962, will transfer to the American League for the 2013 as part of a major-league realignment.

Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez will get the start for the Astros, his sixth of the season for Houston and the 47th of his career in his 113th big-league appearance.

The 29-year-old Mexican won his initial two decisions after an early September callup, then went 0-1 in two subsequent starts before bouncing back to defeat Milwaukee, 7-6, on Sept. 28.

In that win, he allowed three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

He's 1-0 in two career meetings with the Cubs with a stingy 2.57 earned run average across seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits.

Chicago counters with lefty Travis Wood, who spun 7 2/3 innings in a 5-1 defeat of the Astros on Sept. 12.

In that game, the 25-year-old gave up a run on four hits in improving his career mark against Houston to 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA.

Wood is winless in three starts since, going 0-2 while allowing 15 hits and 11 runs in 15 2/3 innings against Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Arizona.

In 13 starts this season at Wrigley, he's 2-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 77 1/3 innings.

On Tuesday, Bud Norris tossed six scoreless innings and Jason Castro homered as the Astros claimed a 3-0 victory.

Norris (7-13) allowed only four hits and a pair of walks while striking out four, and Tyler Greene added an RBI single for the Astros, who surged to their fifth win in six games.

"The team won three in a row. That's the way we're looking at it. We're trying to end this thing strong and play it all the way through," Norris said.

Chris Volstad (3-12) gave up five hits and one earned run with six strikeouts for the Cubs, who were blanked by the same score for the second straight game and lost for the ninth time in their last 10.

"Not a lot of quality at-bats again. We left some guys out there striking out with guys in scoring position again," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's kind of typifying the whole season these last two nights swinging the bats."

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.