HOUSTON (AP) — Alex Bregman homered twice, his second a tiebreaking two-run shot in the sixth inning that propelled the injury-weakened Houston Astros to a 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night that gave manager AJ Hinch his 500th career victory.
Bregman, who is tied for the American League lead with 17 homers, got his first one in the third inning off starter Jon Lester (3-4). It was tied at 6-6 when he connected on Brad Brach’s first pitch for the second.
Bregman’s big game helped the Astros overcome five home runs by the Cubs on a night Houston played with a lineup peppered with recent reinforcements from Triple-A as stars Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa all sat out with injuries. Bregman has a franchise-record 12 home runs this month, passing Jimmy Wynn, who had 11 in May 1969.
Roberto Osuna struck out one in a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
David Bote homered twice for the Cubs and Jason Heyward, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber each hit one. The Cubs have piled up 21 home runs in their last seven games, but have only won twice in that stretch.
Houston’s Michael Brantley had two hits and two RBIs and catcher Garrett Stubbs added two hits and drove in a run in his major league debut, a day after Jack Mayfield played in his first major league game.
Lester lost his third straight decision by allowing eight hits and a season-high seven earned runs.
The Astros led by a run when Heyward tied it by opening the second inning with his solo shot off rookie Corbin Martin. The Cubs went back-to-back and took a 2-1 lead when Russell homered for the second straight game on his shot to right-center.
There was one out in the inning when the Cubs went deep again, this time on a shot by Bote, which bounced off the wall above the seats in left field to make it 3-1.
Bregman got Houston within one with his first home run. Mayfield walked with no outs in the fourth before a one-out double by Jake Marisnick. Stubbs singled to score Mayfield and tie it before an RBI single by Derek Fisher put Houston up 4-3.
Fisher stole second base with two outs and Brantley’s double, which bounced off the wall in center field, scored two to push Houston’s lead to 6-3.
Bote hit a two-run homer off Josh James (2-0) in the sixth inning and Schwarber tied it at 6-6 with a solo shot on the next at-bat.
Fisher walked with two outs in the sixth to end Lester’s night. He was replaced by Brach, who was greeted by Bregman’s second homer to put Houston up 8-6. An RBI double by Marisnick extended the lead to 9-6 in the seventh.
Martin yielded five hits and three runs in 3 2/3 innings.