HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez had two hits and drove in two runs and Chas McCormick added two hits and made a nifty grab in the Houston Astros’ 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
Justin Steele (6-1) hadn’t given up more than three runs in a game this season before the Astros jumped on him for four runs in the fourth inning for a 5-1 lead.
The Astros had four of their season-high six doubles in that inning en route to their third consecutive victory.
Steele allowed five hits and five runs with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Alex Bregman was hit on the foot by a pitch to start the fourth before scoring on a double by Alvarez to put Houston up 2-1. Kyle Tucker followed with a double that scored Alvarez.
There were two outs in the inning when an RBI double by Corey Julks pushed the lead to 4-1. The fourth double of the inning came next on a line drive by McCormick to make it 5-1.
There was a runner on first with one out in the sixth when McCormick robbed Dansby Swanson of a hit with a leaping catch just in front of the wall in left-center.
McCormick crashed into the wall after the catch and fell to the dirt but managed to hold on to the ball. Houston starter Cristian Javier smiled broadly and raised both arms in the air before tipping his cap after witnessing the grab.
Javier (4-1) allowed two hits and one run in six innings for his second straight win.
Chicago rookie Matt Mervis tied it at 1 with his first major league home run in the second inning. Seiya Suzuki added a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning of the loss that extended Chicago’s skid to four games.
Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger was out of the lineup a night after injuring his left knee making an acrobatic catch in the seventh inning. Christopher Morel filled in at center field and went 1 for 4.
Mauricio Dubón led off with a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a fly out by Bregman. He put the Astros up 1-0 when he scored on a wild pitch by Steele.
Mervis tied it with his solo shot to right field with two outs in the second.
Right-hander Nick Burdi, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Iowa on Monday, made his first major league appearance since Aug. 3, 2020, when he came in for the Cubs in the seventh.
Burdi, whose career has been plagued by injuries, walked Martín Maldonado with one out before a double by Dubón. A sacrifice fly by Bregman scored Maldonado and an RBI single by Alvarez left Houston up 7-1.
Cubs: Manager David Ross said Bellinger is day to day but likely won’t return until Friday. “Talking to trainers and stuff, all good news today,” Ross said. “Just a little bit sore.”
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve, who has been out all season after fracturing his thumb in the World Baseball Classic, went 0 for 5 as he continued his rehabilitation with Double-A Corpus Christi Tuesday night after playing three games this weekend for Triple-A Sugar Land.
Chicago’s Drew Smyly (4-1, 3.05 ERA) opposes RHP J.P. France (1-0, 0.77) when the series wraps up Wednesday night.
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