Round 2 went to Roy Oswalt.
Houston's starting pitcher survived two home runs and a poke in the leg from the avenging Cubs. And he came out the winner in this bout between struggling heavyweights.
Wrigley Field Friday afternoon that may have been steamy but not enough to dampen the fuses that ignited on-field fireworks.
It was an ugly mess for the Cubs, who had their five-game winning streak ended on a day so frustrating that reliever Kyle Farnsworth fired his glove into the stands as he left to boos from the remainder of the 39,038 still on hand after a six-run ninth.
Not even starter Kerry Wood could take the punches and survive, allowing four homers and eight runs in his 41/3 innings.
"I just didn't do my job," Wood said. "There's nothing else I can say except I got my [rear end] kicked."
So did his teammates. In all, the teams slugged seven home runs, but the Cubs only two. And Oswalt benefited from the offense. Just last Sunday he lasted only 22/3 innings before being ejected for hitting Cubs catcher Michael Barrett.
That incident obviously was not forgotten Friday. But even though Cubs reliever Kent Mercker hit Oswalt in the leg and earlier the two teams cleared their benches after Barrett had words with Oswalt, no players were ejected.
"I'm glad nobody got tossed," Barrett said. "I have a hard time understanding why Oswalt was not suspended [after the last game]."
"I'm trying to get outs," Oswalt said. "I'm not worried about what somebody thinks about me for sure. If you're worried about that, you shouldn't be out there."
Wood (12-8) would have been better off if he had not been out there. He hadn't allowed eight runs all season.
"It was just location," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He couldn't locate his fastball where he wanted to. And those guys are a good hitting team."
Wood just never got going, even hitting his fourth batter in the last two games against the Astros.
"We did a good job of putting runs on the board, answering the challenge," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "They had said some things that didn't need to be said, but our boys answered the challenge, and that's exactly the way it should have been."
The first inning was an indication Wood wasn't on his game. Second batter Carlos Beltran smoked a homer to right field, then Jeff Bagwell walked and Wood struck Lance Berkman on the foot. Bagwell scored on Jeff Kent's single and Morgan Ensberg doubled in Bagwell and Kent.
"It's tough to win a game when your starting pitcher gives up four in the first," Wood said.
The Cubs got two back in their half, with Nomar Garciaparra driving home one with a single and Moises Alou the other with a sacrifice fly.
But the Astros increased their lead to 6-2 in the third inning when Bagwell and Berkman homered.
Derrek Lee tried to keep Wood in the game with a two-run shot in the third, but it wasn't to be.
Wood allowed another run in the fourth and a homer to Kent in the fifth. His day ended after Jose Vizcaino singled to give the Astros an 8-4 lead that basically made the rest of the game moot.
The Cubs did score two more in the eighth inning on Garciaparra's fourth homer, but they were rendered meaningless as Farnsworth gave them back, plus four more. His glove is now a souvenir.
"He got hit today," Baker said. "When teams start hitting, they don't care who's out there. I couldn't waste my bullpen for the rest of the series."
ASTROS 15, CUBS 7