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Happ strikes out four over six scoreless

The Astros won their first meeting of the season against the Cubs on Monday, improving to 4-2 on their eight-game homestand and 14-10 overall at Minute Maid Park.

Houston got a dazzling effort from Bud Norris and will hope left-hander J.A. Happ can continue the strong pitching Tuesday and build off his last start.

Happ, who tossed six shutout innings and lowered his ERA nearly a full run to 4.96 against the Brewers, picked up his first win since May 1. It was the only time this season that Happ has not surrendered a run.

"They've got enough thunder in their lineup," Astros manager Brad Mills said of Chicago. "It's definitely a team that no one can take lightly."

The Cubs, meanwhile, are turning to Travis Wood to help snap a season-high seven-game losing streak. Over the past three, Chicago has been outscored 21-8.

Wood, who will be making just his second start of the season and first since a no-decision on May 6, is hoping to make the most of his opportunity after being optioned to Triple-A Iowa following his last start.

"I've been throwing the ball pretty well down there and hopefully it translates up here and I just go out and give the team a chance to win every fifth day," said Wood, who won his last two outings in Iowa. "Hopefully, I'm able to stick around for a while this time. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen."

Cubs: Rotation scuffling
• Chicago's pitching is trending downward after starting the season off well.

Cubs arms posted a 2.51 ERA and held opponents to a .193 batting average in 17 games from April 21-May 9 -- the best ERA and opponents' batting average in the Majors during that span -- but haven't fared well since.

Entering Monday's contest against the Astros, Chicago pitchers had a 5.69 ERA over 10 games, the highest mark in baseball over that stretch.

Things weren't better on Monday either, as Houston scored eight runs off Matt Garza and Randy Wells.

• Bryan LaHair, who started the season on a tear, has gone cold during Chicago's current losing streak.

The first baseman has gone 1-for-19 over his past six games which dropped his average from .361 to .315. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he will likely give LaHair a "mental day off" Tuesday.

Besides the recent slump, April and May have been two different months for the slugger altogether.

After batting .390/.471/.780 in April, Lahair is batting .262/.377/.508 in May.

LaHair remains Chicago's biggest source of power, however, leading the team with 10 homers and a 1.035 OPS.

Astros: Lowrie having big year
• Jed Lowrie, whom the Astros acquired in an offseason deal with the Red Sox, has gotten off to a hot start in Houston.

The 28-year-old extended his hitting streak to six games in Monday's win over Chicago and hit his seventh home run, which leads all National League shortstops. He has three homers during the hit streak and has gone deep in back-to-back games.

Lowrie is the team leader in homers, on-base percentage and slugging percentage and is having a breakout season after hitting .252 with six homers and a .685 OPS over 309 at-bats with Boston in 2011.

• Astros starters have thrown five or more innings in each of their last 35 games after Norris' seven-inning gem against Chicago.

It's the second-longest active streak in the Majors behind the Padres' streak of 36

The last game an Astros starter didn't log five innings was April 13, when Lucas Harrell went four at Miami. Comments