CHICAGO -- Kevin Hart won the game and got traded.
Russ Ortiz lost it and got released.That was the strange aftermath to the Chicago Cubs' 12-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday."It's a little weird, a little different," Hart said while still wearing a Cubs' sweat shirt in a mostly empty clubhouse after his former teammates had rushed off to the airport.Hart won his third straight start and moments after the game was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player deal that landed John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny with the Cubs.Ortiz, who gave up nine hits and nine runs in 2 1-3 innings, was put on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release."It's unfortunate that it didn't work out with Russ," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said."He had a few games in there that were pretty good, but just not enough consistency and we need to do that because otherwise you're going to continue to wear your bullpen out and kill them and we can't afford to do that."Against the Mets five days ago, Ortiz (3-6) yielded five hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings."It just wasn't there, I guess lately. I shouldn't say "I guess." It wasn't there lately," Ortiz said."So, they had to make moves that going to help. This team has a very good chance to make the playoffs. So, that had to make a move that was going to help that, not hurt it."Hart was given big run support in his final appearance with the Cubs. Jake Fox and Milton Bradley hit back-to-back homers to start a five-run third and Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot had four RBIs each.The Cubs have won 11 of 14 games since the All-Star break."No idea," Hart said when asked if he any inkling he would be dealt."I get to hopefully go over there and move into the rotation and never give it up," he added.Hart gave up six hits and three runs, including homers to Carlos Lee and Kaz Matsui, in his six innings."It was not an easy thing to do, knowing that our starting pitcher was probably going in this deal today," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.But he said after the game that Hart was "great, he understood.""I told him that good trades are meant to help both clubs," Hendry added.The Cubs drove Ortiz out in the five-run third inning that started with consecutive homers from Fox and Bradley. Alfonso Soriano then singled and scored on Mike Fontenot's triple into the right field corner before Koyie Hill's sacrifice fly made it a five-run lead.After Hart singled and Fukudome doubled him home for a 9-3 lead, Ortiz was replaced.Fukudome hit a two-run bases-loaded single with two outs in the second and Theriot followed with a two-run double to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead. Fukudome added a run-scoring triple in the seventh and scored on Theriot's RBI grounder for a 12-3 lead. The Cubs beat the Astros 12-0 Wednesday.Michael Bourn's leadoff double and Matsui's fourth homer quickly cut the lead to 4-3 in the third before the Cubs came up with five in the bottom half.Lee's 17th homer, a solo shot leading off the second, was his 19th career at Wrigley Field and put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the second.The Astros then loaded the bases on a single and two hit batsmen before Ortiz hit into an inning-ending double play with Cubs' first baseman Derrek Lee making a leaping catch of a high throw from second baseman Mike Fontenot and tagging out the Astros' pitcher.
Ortiz is 0-5 in his last 10 starts. ... Fukudome reached base five times.