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HOU@CHC: Pena launches a two-run shot in the first

CHICAGO -- All the injuries that have hurt the Cubs' record are starting to take a toll on their manager.

Mike Quade has given injury reports on a near daily basis this season, which is why he wouldn't even entertain the possibility of an injury to catcher Geovany Soto after the Cubs' 12-7 loss to the Astros on Monday. Soto, who returned Monday after being sidelined since May 10 with a strained groin, was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the eighth.

"I don't even want to think about it," Quade said.

Soto was hit on the fatty part of his hand and is expected to be OK. Alfonso Soriano could be the next player to land on the disabled list after leaving the game in the first inning with a strained left quadriceps. Results from an MRI are expected Tuesday.

After two months of rain and cold, it finally felt like summer at Wrigley Field with a game-time temperature of 88 degrees. The wind was blowing out, and the Astros took advantage, hitting a season-high four home runs to spoil the Cubs debut of Rodrigo Lopez.

"You kind of walk out there with the heat and the wind blowing out and you thought it might be a long one, and sure enough it was," Houston manager Brad Mills said.

The Cubs gave Lopez a three-run lead after four innings, but the veteran right-hander couldn't make it out of the fifth.

Lopez, the seventh Mexican-born player in franchise history, pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits.

His day started shaky, with the Astros taking a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI doubles by Hunter Pence and Jeff Keppinger.

The Cubs answered with three in the bottom half. Darwin Barney tripled and scored on Starlin Castro's single. Carlos Pena then hit a line drive into the basket down the right-field line for a two-run homer, his seventh.

Rookie center fielder Tony Campana led off the second with a single, stole second and third and then scored when Houston catcher J.R. Towles' attempt to pick off Kosuke Fukudome at first bounced away from first baseman Brett Wallace to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. With his steal of third, Campana became the first Cubs player to steal two bases in a single inning since Soriano did on Aug. 25, 2008. Campana, who turned 25 on Monday, stole four bases in the game.

"The pitcher today was pretty slow to the plate, and I was able to get on base a few times," Campana said. "A couple [of the stolen bases] were kind of cheap ones. They didn't hold me on and didn't really care."

After the Astros got a run in the third, the Cubs responded with an RBI triple by Blake DeWitt in the bottom half of the frame and another run on an error by Pence in the fourth to jump ahead 6-3.

But Houston tied the game in the fifth on back-to-back homers by Clint Barmes and Pence. After two singles, Lopez was replaced by Jeff Samardzija. The right-hander got out of the fifth with a strikeout, but Towles tagged Samardzija (3-1) for a go-ahead home run to lead off the sixth. The Cubs have been outhomered 29-16 at home this season.

"I'm not satisfied," said Lopez, who was 6-1 with a 2.59 with the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett club before being traded to the Cubs on May 26. "I think I let the team down. I got a lot of run support from the team. For one moment, I thought we could have got this game, but just in three batters, the game changed."

If the Cubs keep with their rotation, Lopez's next start will be in St. Louis, where it's likely to be hot but without the wind playing as much of a factor.

"I'm not here to make excuses, but it's a tough place to pitch [when the wind blows out]," Quade said. "We've actually been dying for these conditions, and I thought he did a decent job. ... [He] got a few balls up in the fifth."

Houston capitalized on an error by Castro in the seventh to make it 8-6 and scored again on Chris Johnson's RBI double. Keppinger hit a three-run homer off Scott Maine in the ninth. Castro scored on a Pena groundout in the bottom of the ninth to complete the scoring.

Sergio Escalona (1-0) pitched a scoreless fifth and got the win for Houston. Comments