CUBS TAKE THE OPENER

Astros' slide continues: Drop to 10 games under .500

Astros' slide continues: Drop to 10 games under .500
Cubs defeat Astros, 7-2. Composite Getty Image.

Mike Tauchman hit his first two homers of the season, and the Chicago Cubs took a five-run first-inning lead in a 7-2 win over Houston on Tuesday night that dropped the Astros 10 games under .500 for the first time since 2016.

Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the first off J.P. France (0-3) and Tauchman hit a three-run drive. Tauchman added a solo homer in the eighth against Seth Martinez and tied his career high of four RBIs.

“I was just fortunate to put a couple of good swings on it,” Tauchman said after a pair of opposite-field drives to left. “We’re having fun right now and played good ball."

Bellinger left after the fifth inning with bruised right ribs. He appeared to get hurt running into the center-field wall after a ball in the fourth. X-rays showed no sign of fracture and is to be evaluated further Wednesday.

Houston has lost three straight and six of seven. At 7-17, the last-place Astros are 10 games under .500 for the first time since an 18-28 start in 2016.

“I sense guys are tired of the situation we’re in. We’ve just got to get over the hump,” first-year manager Joe Espada said. “The effort is there, but we’ve got to be better.”

Jordan Wicks (1-2) allowed two runs and five hits in a season-high six innings with no walks and four strikeouts. Chicago has won seven of 10.

“It was frustrating for me,” Wicks said of his first four starts. “I felt like I put a lot of stress on the bullpen. ... To go six tonight was awesome.”

France (0-3) gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in five innings.

“It’s hard to recover when you’re down five,” Espada said. “He kept it close after that.”

Jake Meyers had a solo homer for Houston.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (elbow soreness) could rejoin the rotation this weekend when the club plays a two-game series against Colorado in Mexico City. … RHP Cristian Javier flew to Houston on Tuesday for further evaluation of the neck soreness that landed him on the 15-day injured list.

Cubs: The club placed RHP Kyle Hendricks (low back strain) and LHP Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) on the 15-day injured list and designated INF Garrett Cooper for assignment. Chicago recalled RHP Hayden Wesneski, LHP Luke Little and INF Matt Mervis from Triple-A Iowa. … OF Ian Happ was back in the lineup after missing two straight games with left hamstring tightness.

UP NEXT

Houston’s Spencer Arrighetti (0-2, 7.08 ERA) faces fellow RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 1.80) on Wednesday, Taillon’s second start this season after recovering from a strained back.

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