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Ramirez (Yes, Ramirez!) And Colvin Lead Cubs Past Astros 8-5

Maybe you'll let him play now, Lou.
Maybe you'll let him play now, Lou.

Lou can't bench Tyler Colvin now.

Or wait. Maybe he can:

Colvin will likely be in the lineup on Sunday, although Piniella wasn't sure where he would start in the field.

"I've just got to move him around," Piniella said of the rookie, who is batting .300. "Colvin will be in the lineup most of the time as opposed to a few [times]."

So now it's "most of the time as opposed to a few times"? Just like you promised to play him three times a week at the end of spring training? And then he started one game between April 30 and May 17? Keep your word this time, Lou.

Colvin doubled and homered and helped lead the Cubs to an 8-5 win over the Astros, their first win in a week. As the old saying goes, no team is as bad as it looks during a losing streak, nor as good as it looks during a winning streak. And one win over the team that's a prime candidate to wind up with the worst record in the National League this year doesn't solve all the Cubs' troubles.

It was nice, too, to see the old Aramis Ramirez return -- even if his batting average only "jumped" to .171 after a 3-for-4 day in which he also homered, his first since the walkoff against the Rockies on May 17 and only his second since April 15. A couple of TV camera shots caught Ramirez looking almost as surprised as we, the TV viewer, were in seeing his big day. If he can keep this up, maybe the Cubs can sneak back into contention.

Ryan Dempster threw another solid game; he has gone at least six innings in all 12 of his starts this season and ranks third in the National League with 83.2 innings. His 3.76 ERA is decent, but higher than we (or he) would probably like, and he still has the propensity to give up that late-inning-I'm-tiring-get-me-out-of-here homer. He did that again last night, when Humberto Quintero homered off him with one out in the seventh. Fortunately, the Cubs had a 6-2 lead at the time and no one was on base.

But the star of the day was Colvin, whose sixth HR ties him with Kosuke Fukudome (who's being benched for Colvin) and Derrek Lee for third on the team, with far fewer plate appearances than either one. I do realize that Lou will probably sit Colvin against most LHP, not necessarily because he can't hit them but because Xavier Nady can (.302/.375/.463 against LHP in his career, although he has a reverse split this season, better vs. RHP in 87 plate appearances).

Even the two runs in the ninth -- unearned due to a Ryan Theriot error, forcing Lou to call on Carlos Marmol for a pair of outs -- didn't ruin this generally well-played game. Theriot drew his first walk since May 1, leading to some horse-race jokes, since it was Belmont Stakes day; his last one was on Kentucky Derby day. Maybe the team should take Theriot to the track every day.

There appears to be some life left in this team after they looked pretty "go-through-the-motions", scoring only five runs since their last win a week ago yesterday against the Cardinals. They can win another series today against the Astros; the pregame thread will post at 11:30 am CDT.