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PIT@CHC: Wood strikes out nine over 5 2/3 innings

The Astros finish their 51st and final season in the National League with a matinee game at one of baseball's most hallowed parks: Wrigley Field.

After the Astros won the first two games of the series against the Cubs, there's some statistical significance for Game No. 162.

Houston enters Wednesday with an all-time record of 3,999-4,133, so a win would allow the club to finish its stint in the National League with 4,000 victories. A win on Wednesday would also help the Astros avoid establishing a club record for losses in a season, topping last year's 106.

Regardless of Wednesday's result, though, the Astros are already looking forward to next season in the American League West.

"It's the end of an era, but really feel like we're just at the beginning of what we're trying to get accomplished," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We're already looking forward to Spring Training next year."

Wednesday's game will be the last for Tony DeFrancesco as interim manager. Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter will take over as manager when Washington's postseason run ends. DeFrancesco, who managed the team over the final 41 games of the season following the dismissal of Brad Mills, will remain in the organization in some capacity.

The Astros have won five of their last six games.

"It's been fun," DeFrancesco said. "We're on a run right now and I'm proud to be associated with these players. They didn't quit, they kept grinding it out every at-bat."

The Cubs fell short of their late-season goal of avoiding 100 losses, but manager Dale Sveum said he doesn't think fans will need much convincing to come back to Wrigley next year.

"The one thing we have going for us is we're playing for the Chicago Cubs and fans do come out in tough times," Sveum said. "It's all of our jobs to put a product on the field next year that's competitive, winning. The one good thing is we were at least pretty close to .500 at home. We have to put a product on the field, hit home runs, to get guys at some of these positions to have prolific years so we can score more runs."

Left-hander Travis Wood gets the ball on Wednesday. Wood's ERA over his last three starts is 5.74. In three starts against the Astros this season, Wood is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA.

Astros: Gonzalez takes the mound for finale
Edgar Gonzalez, the Astros starter on Wednesday, is 3-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five starts since the Astros signed him from the Mexican League.

He's been even better on the road, going 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA. On Friday, he allowed three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Brewers. He said his sore hamstring wasn't an issue.

"I'm so excited we got the win, and that's the only thing that mattered," Gonzalez said after the start. "I felt good the whole game. I was working on that [hamstring] every day with the treatment, and on Tuesday I threw a bullpen and the pain's gone. Thankfully everything was good."

Gonzalez will try to prolong the Astros' three-game shutout streak. The last time the Astros had three straight shutouts was Sept. 23-25, 1986.

• Right fielder Scott Moore was removed from Tuesday's game in the second inning with an irritation to the AC joint in his left shoulder. He injured the shoulder after making a diving attempt to catch a pop fly.

• All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve left Tuesday's game with discomfort in his left groin.

Cubs: Castro to play 162nd game at shortstop
On Tuesday, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro played his 161st game at shortstop this year, surpassing the previous single-season franchise mark set by Ivan DeJesus in both 1978 and 1979.

If Castro plays shortstop on Wednesday, he will become the first Cubs player to play in all 162 games at the position in a season. The last Cubs infielder to appear in all 162 games was Ron Santo in 1968.

The only game Castro didn't start this season was July 6 against the Mets in New York. He came into the game in the seventh inning as part of a double switch. Comments