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|09-10-2016, 06:00 PM||#1|
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Bregman homers as Astros top Cubs 2-1 with 2-hitter
HOUSTON (AP) -- Rookie Alex Bregman homered, Collin McHugh combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter and the Houston Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Saturday as they tried to gain ground in the AL wild card race.
Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run with a third inning squeeze bunt for the Astros, who began the day 2 1/2 games back for the AL's second wild card.
Bregman put the Astros ahead with an opposite-field home run to right-center against John Lackey (9-8) in a two-run third. After starting 1 for 34 following hus July 25 callup, Bregman has eight home runs -- all since Aug. 16. He went 2 for 4 and raised his average to .274 with 31 RBIs.
McHugh (10-10) won his third straight decision, allowing one run and two hits in five innings. Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles combined for hitless relief.
Ken Giles survived a shaky ninth to earn his 10th save. He walked Anthony Rizzo leading off, and pinch-runner Matt Szczur advanced on a wild pitch. Jorge Soler struck out and Szczur crossed to third on Miguel Montero's groundout. Giles then struck out Willson Contreras.
Lackey gave up two runs, four hits and three walks in five innings for the NL Central leaders, who are a big league-beat 90-51. He had been 2-0 in four starts since a July 23 at Milwaukee.
Jose Altuve, in an 0-for-12 slide, followed Bregman's homer by reaching on his second bunt single of the season, beating third baseman Kris Bryant's throw.
Yulieski Gurriel singled him to third, and Gonzalez bunted to third as Altuve scored.
Contreras' fourth-inning sacrifice fly scored Soler, who beat the offline throw from right fielder George Springer.
Houston could have extended the lead in the seventh, but Springer was thrown out at the plate by when he tried to score from first on Bregman's bloop single to right center. Right fielder Jason Heyward threw to shortstop Javier Baez, who relayed to Contreras for the tag. The call by plate umpire Mark Carlson's call was upheld in a video review.
The game was delayed several minutes between the second and third innings because of a medical emergency involving a fan in the stands near the Houston bench. First responders could be seen tending to the fan, and the Astros said the fan was taken to a hospital.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa missed his fourth straight game with inflammation in his left shoulder and remains day to day. Manager A.J. Hinch said Correa continued to experience soreness, and that the early start time following a night game didn't allow proper time for prep work. "Every time we want to put him in there we're going to risk the next three or four days," Hinch said. "So we have to be very strategic about we map this out."
RHP Mike Fiers (10-6) looks to improve to 4-1 in his career against the Cubs when he starts Sunday's series finale. Chicago starts RHP Jake Arrieta (16-6), who is 10-2 in 13 road starts this season. He will face Houston for the first time.
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