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Astros lose 5-4 to Cubs in NL finale

Associated Press Published: October 3, 2012

"The way we finished, we knocked the Brewers out of playoff contention, we really played well these last few weeks," Maxwell said. "If we individually work on the things we know we have to get better at, we're going to be as a better team."

Cubs starter Travis Wood allowed one run, three hits and five walks in 6 1-3 innings, giving up Carlos Corporan's RBI single in the first. Wood also chased Astros starter Edgar Gonzalez with a two-run single.

Gonzalez gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings. Houston pitched 28 consecutive scoreless innings before LaHair's homer in the second.

Most of the Cubs' regulars were given the day off. The exception, Starlin Castro, became the first player in franchise history to play shortstop in all 162 games, and the first major leaguer to do it since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Castro's 195 consecutive games played is the longest active streak in the NL.

DeFrancesco said the Astros have a good foundation to build upon and they made strides fundamentally on defense. Houston's pitching was a bright spot in the final month, as the Astros threw three consecutive shutouts before Wednesday.

He thinks owner Jim Crane will be willing to improve the roster.

"I know Jeff and Jim are going to get some help down the road, get us some power for the American League, and eventually compete and hopefully get into October like everybody else," DeFrancesco said.

NOTES: Houston finished with home runs in a season-high seven straight games and had 20 homers in its final 12 games. ... Astros OF Scott Moore (left shoulder) and 2B Jose Altuve (groin) did not play after they were injured in Tuesday's game. ... The Cubs drew 2,882,756 to Wrigley Field, the first time under 3 million at home since 2003. ... Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano said he is open to being traded in the offseason if the Cubs don't plan on contending the next two years. "I just want to have one more shot to go to the World Series before I (retire)," Soriano said. The 36-year-old said he will seriously consider retiring when his contract expires after the 2014 season. He is slated to make $18 million each of the next two seasons.