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Astros Hand Cubs 9th Straight Loss With 5-1 Win

Starlin Castro #13 of the Chicago Cubs calls off the third baseman while making a catch against the Houston Astros on May 23, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Starlin Castro #13 of the Chicago Cubs calls off the third baseman while making a catch against the Houston Astros on May 23, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night to complete the series three-game sweep and give Chicago its longest losing streak in more than a decade.

The Cubs have lost nine straight for the first time since dropping the same number of games from May 8-18 2002.

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (4-4) allowed eight hits and a run with five strikeouts in seven innings. The victory is the 77th of his career, moving him into sole possession of second place in franchise history for wins by a left-hander.

Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (4-3) yielded six hits and two runs with four strikeouts in six innings.

Chicago was up 1-0 in the fourth inning before Martinez’s triple, which fell as Darwin Barney and David DeJesus bumped into each other and tumbled to the ground trying to make the catch, put Houston on top 2-1.

It was the second consecutive night that Martinez drove in the go-ahead run after hitting an RBI single in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s 2-1 win.

His two-out RBI single to center field in the eighth inning off reliever Rafael Dolis added an insurance run for the Astros. Dolis walked the next two batters to send another run home, before plunking Jose Altuve to allow Martinez to score.

Martinez, who added a single in the sixth, is rebounding from a tough month at the plate, with four of his nine hits and four of six RBIs in May coming in the last two games.

Reed Johnson provided Chicago’s only score on a solo home run in the first inning.

Samardzija didn’t allow a hit until Jason Castro doubled with one out in the third inning. Altuve walked with two outs, but Jed Lowrie struck out to end the threat.

Johnson put Chicago on top with his solo home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field with one out in the first inning. When Houston didn’t score in the first, it left the Cubs ahead at the end of an inning for the first time in 60 innings.

Cubs manager Dave Sveum missed Wednesday’s game to attend the high school graduation of his son, Rustin. Bench coach Jamie Quirk managed the game with him away, but was unable to help the Cubs to a win for the first time since May 14.

NOTES: Houston CF Jordan Schafer was out of the lineup after having part of the toenail on his right big toe removed on Wednesday. Schafer injured the toe last week when he fouled a ball of it. Manager Brad Mills expects him to be better in a couple of days. … Both teams are off on Thursday before Houston opens a series at the Dodgers and Chicago starts one in Pittsburgh on Friday. … RHP Carlos Marmol, on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, pitched a simulated game on Wednesday and could pitch for Triple-A Iowa on Friday, Quirk said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.