CUBS DEFEAT ASTROS

Frustration mounts as Houston Astros lose to Cubs again

Astros Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, Jon Singleton
Cubs defeat Astros, 4-3. Composite Getty Image.

Dansby Swanson hit a three-run homer during Chicago's four-run first inning and the short-handed Cubs beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Playing without Cody Bellinger, Chicago used Swanson's big swing and a solid start by Jameson Taillon to earn its second straight win. It will try to sweep the three-game set against the struggling Astros on Thursday.

Taillon (2-0) allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings on a chilly evening at Wrigley Field. The right-hander struck out four and walked two in his second start since he began the season on the injured list with a back strain.

“Before that back injury, I just really liked where we were at,” Taillon said, “and I feel like we were able to use that downtime as like, let’s stay on the straight and narrow, stay on the right path.”

Houston lost for the seventh time in eight games. It has scored a total of 21 runs during the slide.

Manager Joe Espada tried to spark his sputtering lineup by moving Alex Bregman into the second spot, between Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez. But the Astros went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

Altuve opened the ninth with a drive to left against Héctor Neris for his sixth homer. But Neris retired Bregman, Alvarez and Kyle Tucker for his second save in three opportunities.

Bellinger was placed on the 10-day injured list with two fractured ribs on his right side. The center fielder got hurt during the series opener Tuesday night.

There was no word just yet on a timetable for his return.

“The doctors will come up with a plan,” manager Craig Counsell said, “and, like everything, he’s got to get symptom-free first and we’ll go from there.”

Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ singled for Chicago in the first against Spencer Arrighetti. Michael Busch delivered a sacrifice fly and Christopher Morel walked before Swanson hit a two-out drive to left for his third homer.

The Cubs also got off to a fast start Tuesday night, jumping on the Astros for five runs in the first in a 7-2 victory.

“We’ve just been pretty committed to our plans coming in and put some good swings on some balls and that’s just a testament to the work that the guys are doing in the cage,” Swanson said.

Arrighetti (0-3) was pulled with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked two in his third major league start.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (elbow soreness) threw about 40 pitches during a bullpen session. “He came off the mound feeling good,” Espada said. Valdez remains in line to start this weekend during a two-game series against Colorado in Mexico City. … RHP Cristian Javier (neck discomfort) played catch back in Houston. “The doctor saw him, and it looks like he's improving,” Espada said.

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks is taking pills to help with the inflammation from his low back strain. He also is getting treatment and playing catch to help keep his arm moving. He isn't too concerned about the injury. “It just made sense to give it the time to settle down, get out of there and give myself a chance to get back to 100 percent,” he said. ... OF Seiya Suzuki (right oblique strain) has resumed baseball activities.

UP NEXT

Houston right-hander Justin Verlander (1-0, 3.00 ERA) makes his second start since he missed the beginning of the season because of shoulder inflammation. Right-hander Javier Assad (2-0, 2.11 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago.

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