Published June 23, 2013
| Sports Network
Streaking right-hander Jordan Lyles goes for an eighth straight start without a loss on Sunday when the Houston Astros return to Wrigley Field to close out a three-game interleague series with the Chicago Cubs.
Lyles split his initial two decisions of the season across his first three starts but has since gone 3-0 in seven appearances while watching his earned run average plummet from 8.36 to 3.22.
He's allowed two runs or less in each of the seven unbeaten starts, including one run on seven hits in seven innings of a 10-1 downing of the Milwaukee Brewers in a June 18 outing.
He's allowed just nine runs in those seven games, which have covered 44 2/3 innings and seen him strike out 33 batters.
Lyles is 1-0 in three lifetime starts against the Cubs with a 2.50 ERA across 18 innings.
He's opposed by Chicago righty Jeff Samardzija, who's won three of five decisions since opening the season at 1-5.
He's thrown at least eight innings in each of the victories, including a 4-2 defeat of the St. Louis Cardinals in which he went 8 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
One victory earlier, Samardzija went the distance and allowed two hits while defeating the crosstown Chicago White Sox, 7-0, on May 27.
Samardzija is 3-2 with a blown save and three holds in 17 career meetings with Houston, while posting a 3.60 ERA in 30 full innings.
On Saturday, Ronny Cedeno bunted home the winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Astros past the Cubs, 4-3.
Earlier in the frame, Justin Maxwell connected on a line drive double to left off Kevin Gregg (2-1) and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Dominguez. Cedeno then pushed a perfect bunt up the first-base line to put the Astros on top.
In the home half of the eighth, the calls didn't go the Cubs' way.
Alfonso Soriano doubled and Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked with one out. Soriano was picked off by Jose Cisnero (2-0) at second on a controversial call which was followed by a Ryan Sweeney single that could have possibly scored Soriano. Welington Castillo was walked to load the bases. Darwin Barney had a 3-1 count and took what appeared to be ball four before flying out two pitches later.
Jose Veras threw a 1-2-3 ninth to collect his 15th save of the year.
J.D. Martinez had a three-run homer for the Astros, who have won seven of their last 10 games.
Bud Norris yielded three runs -- two earned -- on six hits while walking three in six effective innings of work for Houston.
The Cubs won eight of 15 games with the Astros in 2012, Houston's final season in the National League.