Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Geovany Soto’s two-out homer in the eighth proved to be the difference, as the Chicago Cubs opened a three-game series against the Houston Astros with a 5-4 victory at Wrigley Field.
Soto launched his 17th home run of the season and the 10th go-ahead shot of his career, as the Cubs improved to 9-4 under interim manager Mike Quade. Marlon Byrd added a two-run shot, while Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt each drove in a run in the win.
Casey Coleman allowed four runs, eight hits and five walks in a six-inning start, and Andrew Cashner (2-5) earned the win for a scoreless eighth inning. Carlos Marmol notched his 28th save with a perfect ninth.
Chris Johnson homered for the Astros, who came into this series with 11 wins in their last 14 games. Michael Bourn added two hits and two walks, while Jeff Keppinger and Hunter Pence each drove in a run.
Wandy Rodriguez wasn’t involved in the decision after yielding four runs and eight hits while walking one and fanning six in seven innings. Wilton Lopez (5-2) gave up Soto’s homer to take the loss.
After Cashner retired the Astros in order to keep the game tied heading to the bottom of the eighth, Soto launched a pitch out of the stadium and onto the streets of Chicago beyond left-center for a 5-4 Cubs lead.
Marmol closed out the game by retiring Bourn, Keppinger and Pence in order.
Houston jumped on top early with a four-run second inning.
Johnson began the inning with his seventh homer, and Matt Downs drew a one-out walk. Jason Castro followed with a base hit that left runners on second and third after Alfonso Soriano’s error in left.
Rodriguez flied out, but Downs scored and Castro went to third on a wild pitch. Bourn walked to put runners on the corners, and Keppinger and Pence followed with back-to-back RBI singles to put the Astros ahead, 4-0.
The Cubs answered with three runs in the third and one in the fifth to tie the game.
Darwin Barney started the third with a single and moved to second when Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch with two outs. DeWitt plated Barney with an infield single, and Byrd launched a two-run homer to left for a 4-3 contest.
Another base hit from Barney began the fifth, and two batters later, Baker’s RBI double tied the game.
The Astros still lead the season series, 8-5…The Cubs recorded nine hits, the first time they had under 10 in eight games…Chicago has won four of five overall.