CUBS SWEEP 'STROS

Astros dealt another blow as Cubs complete crushing series sweep

Astros dealt another blow as Cubs complete crushing series sweep
That's five straight losses for Houston. Composite Getty Image.

Pete Crow-Armstrong hit a tiebreaking two-run homer for his first major league hit, and the Chicago Cubs swept the Houston Astros with a 3-1 victory on Thursday.

Nico Hoerner had three hits and Mike Tauchman went 1 for 1 with three walks as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games. Hayden Wesneski (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings for the win in relief of Javier Assad.

Houston has lost a season-high five straight and eight of nine overall. At 7-19, it is off to its worst 26-game start since it was 6-20 in 1969.

First-year manager Joe Espada was ejected by plate umpire Jansen Visconti in the top of ninth.

Crow-Armstrong was recalled from Triple-A Iowa when Cody Bellinger was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with two fractured ribs. The 22-year-old outfielder, who is considered one of the team’s top prospects, made his big league debut last year and went 0 for 14 while appearing in 13 games.

He picked a perfect time for his first major league hit.

Houston had a 1-0 lead before Dansby Swanson scampered home on a fielder’s choice grounder for Miguel Amaya in the sixth.

Espada then replaced Rafael Montero with Bryan Abreu, who threw a wild pitch with Crow-Armstrong trying to sacrifice Amaya to second. Crow-Armstrong then drove his next pitch deep to right, delighting the crowd of 29,876 at Wrigley Field.

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Mariners defeat Astros, 3-2. Composite Getty Image.

Bryce Miller allowed two runs over six innings to pick up his first win since April 17, and the Seattle Mariners used a big first inning against Houston starter Framber Valdez to hold on for a 3-2 win over the Astros on Monday night.

Seattle scored three times in the first off Valdez and then leaned on its pitching to make the early lead stand up. Miller did his part and then turned it over to relievers Trent Thornton, Gabe Speier and Andrés Muñoz to close out the victory.

Muñoz got three outs for his 11th save.

Miller (4-5) had lost his last four decisions, including his past three starts. In his four previous May starts, Miller allowed 15 earned runs after yielding just eight runs over six starts during the first month of the season.

But he seemed to rediscover a bit of his dominant form from that first month, striking out six and walking a pair. Miller said part of the success was noticing batters being more aggressive on his pitches early in counts, forcing him to be better with his location.

“For me (it's) just trying to make sure I'm still getting ahead, but with certain hitters in the lineup not making a mistake just trying to get ahead,” Miller said. “Being aggressive on the corner early and then working off of that.”

Miller cruised through the first four innings and retired 12 straight after issuing a walk to Kyle Tucker, the second batter of the game. But he ran into trouble in the fifth when he gave up three straight singles, the last coming from José Abreu, which scored Jake Meyers. Victor Caratini’s sacrifice fly plated another run and after Jose Altuve doubled, Miller escaped the jam by getting a groundout from Tucker.

Miller again pitched out of trouble in the sixth, putting two runners on before Jon Singleton flied out to the warning track in right-center to end the threat.

Abreu was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land ahead of Monday’s game and his single was his first big league hit since April 27. The 2020 AL MVP was batting .099 when he accepted an assignment to the minors on May 1.

All of Seattle’s offense came early. Meyers made a terrific sliding catch to rob Cal Raleigh of extra bases but it still resulted in a sacrifice fly. Ty France and Mitch Haniger followed with two-out RBI singles as Valdez faced eight batters in the first inning. He needed 43 pitches to get through the first two innings, but Seattle was unable to add on.

“We had all kinds of traffic and we had some good at-bats when we did have traffic out there. Unfortunately, sometimes the ball doesn't land on the grass like you want it to," Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

Valdez (3-3) allowed just two baserunners over his final four innings on the mound and was able to get through six. He permitted six hits, struck out four and walked three.

“I thought it took him a little bit of time for his sinker to be down and to execute. He just wasn't executing his pitches like he wanted to," Houston manager Joe Espada said. "Then after that he settled in and he threw a heck of a game.”

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Astros: RHP Hunter Brown (1-5, 7.06 ERA) allowed just two hits and two runs over six innings in his last start but took his fifth loss.

Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.31) lost his last time out, giving up two runs over five innings against the Yankees.

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