Tauchman homers twice, Wicks cruises in Cubs win; Bellinger also homers but leaves game with injury

CHICAGO (AP) — Mike Tauchman hit his first two homers of the season, Jordan Wicks gave the bullpen a breather and the Chicago Cubs took a five-run first-inning lead in a 7-2 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs have won seven of 10 to improve to 14-9 on the season, a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the very early National League Central standings entering play Wednesday.

Bears scheduled to unveil new lakefront stadium plans Wednesday afternoon at Soldier Field, a day before crucial NFL Draft

The Cubs host the Astros on Wednesday and Thursday to conclude the homestand before a seven-game trip east to Boston and New York.

The Astros, meanwhile, dropped to 10 games under .500 for the first time since 2016.

Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the first off J.P. France (0-3), then Tauchman hit a three-run drive to get the Cubs started in a big way Tuesday. Tauchman added a solo homer in the eighth against Seth Martinez and tied his career high of four RBI.

“I was just fortunate to put a couple of good swings on it,” Tauchman said after his pair of opposite-field drives to left. “We’re having fun right now and played good ball.”

Report: Bears to ask for over $2 billion in public assistance for new stadium

Bellinger hurt

Bellinger, however, left after the fifth inning with bruised right ribs. He appeared to get hurt running into the center-field wall going after a ball in the fourth. X-rays showed no sign of fracture, and he is expected to be evaluated further Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Wicks (1-2) allowed two runs and five hits in a season-high six innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

“It was frustrating for me,” Wicks said of his first four starts. “I felt like I put a lot of stress on the bullpen. … To go six tonight was awesome.”

Houston has lost three straight and six of seven. At 7-17, the last-place Astros are 10 games under .500 for the first time since an 18-28 start in 2016.

“I sense guys are tired of the situation we’re in. We’ve just got to get over the hump,” first-year manager Joe Espada said. “The effort is there, but we’ve got to be better.”

France (0-3) gave up five runs, five hits and four walks in five innings.

“It’s hard to recover when you’re down five,” Espada said. “He kept it close after that.”

Jake Meyers had a solo homer for Houston.

Trainer’s room

Cubs: The club placed RHP Kyle Hendricks (low back strain) and LHP Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) on the 15-day injured list and designated INF Garrett Cooper for assignment. Chicago recalled RHP Hayden Wesneski, LHP Luke Little and INF Matt Mervis from Triple-A Iowa. … OF Ian Happ was back in the lineup after missing two straight games with left hamstring tightness.

Report: Cubs call up Mervis, Wesneski

Up next

Houston’s Spencer Arrighetti (0-2, 7.08 ERA) faces fellow RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 1.80) on Wednesday, Taillon’s second start this season after recovering from a strained back.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.

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