Alex Bregman broke a tie with a two-out, two-run home run in the seventh inning and the Houston Astros rode a strong bullpen performance to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday
Bregman followed a two-out single from Mauricio Dubon with his fifth home run of the season. After Dubon lined a 1-2 fastball from Cubs reliever Michael Fulmer (0-3) the opposite way down the right field line, Bregman lined a first-pitch cutter into the left field seats, snapping a 4-4 tie
The late rally complemented the relief work of right-handers Phil Maton, Seth Martinez, Rafael Montero (1-3), Ryne Stanek and Hector Neris, who combined to allow one hit and one walk over five scoreless innings. The quintet totaled eight strikeouts, and Neris tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
By taking the opener of a three-game interleague series, Houston won for the fifth time in six games while Chicago took its third loss in a row.
Astros left-hander Framber Valdez got off to a promising start, striking out the side in the first and fanning Seiya Suzuki to open the second. However, after inducing Cody Bellinger to ground out, Valdez allowed consecutive two-out baserunners before escaping the frame. Valdez recorded consecutive strikeouts to open the third but again surrendered two two-out baserunners before eluding additional damage. He wasn't as fortunate in the fourth
The Cubs touched Valdez for four runs on five hits in the fourth. Chicago got a trio of singles and a sacrifice fly from Yan Gomes before Christopher Morel stepped to the plate with two outs and Trey Mancini and Nick Madrigal aboard
Morel pulled the Cubs even by bashing his fourth home run 401 feet out to left field. Valdez got too much of the plate with an 0-2 cutter
Valdez allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over four innings. It was his shortest outing of the season.
The Astros spotted Valdez a four-run lead in the bottom of the first. Jose Abreu delivered a two-run double to left-center that scored Dubon and Yordan Alvarez, both of whom singled. Jeremy Pena and Chas McCormick added RBI hits off Cubs right-hander Jameson Taillon
Taillon, making just his third start following a stay on the injured list, allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk while notching one strikeout over 4 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media