Clemens (1-2) allowed two runs, including a homer to Jacque Jones, four hits and struck out five in five innings. The Rocket allowed two runs or fewer for the 19th time in his last 23 starts, and left after throwing 115 pitches.
``I know I'm on the fast track,'' Clemens said, ``but I still expect certain results. I think that's the hardest thing I've got going right now.''
The victory was the 342nd of Clemens' career and moved him into a tie with Tim Keefe for eighth place on the career list. Houston was shut out nine times in 2005 when Clemens started. For a change, the Astros' bats bailed him out.
``He was good, but he wasn't Roger,'' Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. ``I can't ever recall him throwing over 100 pitches in five innings. So he was not as sharp, but he made the pitches when he needed them.''
The Astros still can't pinpoint why they struggle to score when Clemens pitches. ``It's not like we're trying to get shut out,'' said Lance Berkman, who hit two homers. ``I guarantee you, if you take a poll of all the players in here, we don't care who's on the mound. We want to score runs every night.''
On a side note, Craig Biggio ended the threat of another blanking in his first at-bat, driving the first pitch from Cubs rookie Carlos Marmol (1-3) into the seats in left. It was Biggio's 48th leadoff homer, which trails only Rickey Henderson (80) on the career list. Berkman added a solo homer in the first. ``It's always nice to get a good start like that for someone we have had trouble scoring runs for,'' Biggio said. ``It's hard to explain. It's not from lack of trying. It's just part of the game.''
(Contributed by AP)