HOUSTON (AP) — Jorge Soler and Addison Russell homered to lead Chicago to a 9-5 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday night, moving the Cubs closer to clinching the NL Central.
Soler hit a solo home run as part of Chicago’s four-run third, and Russell hit a two-run shot — his 20th of the season — in the fourth as the Cubs built a 9-0 lead.
Chicago extended its lead in the NL Central to 16 games over St. Louis.
Houston fell 9 1/2 games behind Texas in the AL West and 3 1/2 back of Toronto and Baltimore in the wild-card race.
Jake Arrieta (17-6) allowed three runs on four hits with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Arrieta cruised through the first five innings, allowing a solo home run to Jose Altuve in the fourth to go with a walk and single but ran into trouble in the sixth.
Alex Bregman hit an RBI double and came around to score on Arrieta’s wild pitch to cut the lead to 9-3 in the sixth. The Astros then loaded the bases with one out, but Justin Grimm induced pop-ups by Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus to end the threat.
Kris Bryant had an RBI double in the first, and David Ross had a sacrifice fly before Javier Baez scored on a wild pitch by Mike Fiers (10-7) in the second.
Baez added an RBI single, and Albert Almora hit a two-run single as part of the third.
Yulieski Gurriel and Gattis hit back-to-back solo home runs in the ninth as the Astros lost for the fourth time in five games.
Fiers was tagged for seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. The right-hander had won two straight and allowed three runs or fewer in each of his previous four starts.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa was back in the lineup after missing four games with inflammation in his left shoulder. Correa singled in the second and was replaced by pinch hitter A.J. Reed in the fourth.
Almora ended the fifth with a diving catch coming in on Marwin Gonzalez’s falling pop fly. Jake Marisnick then robbed Almora of a hit in the eighth, coming in and making a diving grab on Almora’s pop fly.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (14-7) starts the first game of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Hendricks leads the majors with a 2.07 ERA. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 19 straight starts.
Astros: RHP Doug Fister (12-11) starts the first of a three-game series against Texas on Monday. Fister will look to bounce back after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last start at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.