Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - After his first pitch was delayed more than three hours due to rain, towering Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza toed the rubber, shimmied his shoulders, then torpedoed a fastball into the dirt.
Despite a slow start for the game and Garza, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound righty made quick work of the Houston Astros to pave the way for Chicago's 3-1 in the opener of a three-game interleague set.
Garza (2-1) gave up one run on four hits over eight-plus innings. He struck out a season-high eight and walked two.
The Cubs took advantage of the long ball, as Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, and Scott Hairston each launched solo homers.
Dallas Keuchel (4-4) gave up all three homers on nine hits in six innings, while striking out a career-high nine.
Chris Carter's solo home run in the seventh inning accounted for the Astros' only run.
Rizzo put the Cubs on the board when he led off the fourth inning. The first baseman jumped on a first-pitch cutter and slammed it just inside the fair pole and onto Sheffield Avenue beyond the right-field bleachers.
Rizzo, who has 11 home runs this season, snapped a string of 28 games without a home run, a streak that spanned 107 at bats.
Darwin Barney added to the lead in the fifth when he hit a high curve into the left-field bleachers to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Barney now has four home runs this season, including two in his last five games.
Scott Hairston capped the Cubs' scoring when he crushed a fastball out to left-center field.
"That's the way we scored all year," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's slugging percentage and home runs.
"That's how we score, because of home runs and doubles."
Carter and the Astros finally got to Garza in the seventh inning. Garza lined a fastball over the right-center-field wall to bring Houston within two runs.
"We see the power potential," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "We see that when it clicks, and it all comes together, we have something that is really special."
Garza worked into the ninth inning but left the game after walking Jose Altuve to start the frame. Kevin Gregg entered and retired all three Astros he faced to earn his 11th save.
The game was delayed three hours and 18 minutes due to rain ... The Cubs improve to 7-2 against the American League this season ... Chicago won for the second time in its last six games ... The Astros lost for the third time in their last nine games ... Gregg has not blown a save this season.