Cubs fans invade MMP
(c) Houston Chronicle
Joe Musgrove turned in the best start by an Astros pitcher this month, but it wasn't enough to beat one of the best teams in baseball.
The Astros rookie right-hander limited Chicago to three hits and three walks over six innings of work but a 2-run homer by Kris Bryant turned out to be the difference. Musgrove got zero support from the Houston offense, bringing me to the adage "if you don't score, you can't win".
Musgrove issued a 2-out walk to former Astro Dexter Fowler in the fifth inning and Bryant followed with his 37th long ball of the year. Bryant's deep drive into the Crawford Boxes turned out to be the only scoring play of the evening as Cubs starter Jon Lester teamed up with two relievers to shut down the Astros offense.
Lester gave up seven hits in seven innings but didn't walk a batter. Four of those hits came leading off innings and the Astros also stole three bases against the left-hander with a reputation for being unable to stop the running game.
Cubs catcher David Ross helped his battery-mate by throwing out a pair of runners on the basepaths. George Springer was caught attempting to steal in the third and Alex Bregman was erased trying to advance on a pitch that got away from Ross in the fourth.
Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman took care of the final two innings with Chapman reaching 104 m.p.h. with his fastball in a 1-2-3 ninth.
For the Astros, Pat Neshek, Tony Sipp, and James Hoyt combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief and Yulieski Gurriel stayed hot at the plate, connecting for two hits in four at-bats.
The series continues Saturday with Collin McHugh facing John Lackey in a 12:05 CDT start at Wrigley South (a.k.a. Miniute Maid Park).
- Greg Thurston