Cubs’ losing streak reaches season-high four games in loss to Astros

Notes: Cubs lefty Justin Steele surrendered five runs in his worst start of the season, and Matt Mervis hit his first major-league home run.

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Cubs pitcher Justin Steele stands on the mound after giving up a double to Chas McCormick of the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Cubs pitcher Justin Steele stands on the mound after giving up a double to Chas McCormick of the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

HOUSTON — Before the Cubs’ 7-3 loss Tuesday to the Astros, left-hander Justin Steele had limited opponents to six doubles all season. He surrendered five to Houston.

The result extended the Cubs’ losing streak to four games, their longest since August of last season. Their rotation, which had been a strength all season, has allowed 22 runs in those games.

But manager David Ross said he wouldn’t lump in Steele’s six-inning, five-run start with the others during this stretch.

“I thought they had a pretty good approach,” Ross said.

For Steele, it was really just one inning that got him into trouble. In the fourth, he hit Alex Bergman in the foot to lead off the inning before yielding four RBI doubles.

‘‘They did a good job of punishing me when I left stuff over the plate,’’ said Steele, who pitched six innings. ‘‘That’s a good team over there.’’

Steele said he had been dealing with flulike symptoms but felt well enough to pitch.

Mervis mashes

Rookie Matt Mervis launched the first home run of his career off the foul pole in the second. At the time, it tied the score.

“Obviously, that’s something that you try not to think about, but that’s also part of the reason why I’m here,” Mervis said. “So just get it out of the way, and now it’s not a thought anymore.”

Mervis entered the game hitting .219 with one extra-base hit before going 2-for-4.

‘‘I don’t see him pressing or trying too hard,’’ Ross said before the game, noting that Mervis had faced some tough left-handed pitchers. ‘‘I see the same guy. The at-bats, the defense — all that stuff seems to be pretty consistent in what he’s shown us so far.’’

Burdi back in the big leagues

Reliever Nick Burdi made his first major-league appearance since Aug. 3, 2020. He had undergone his second Tommy John surgery later that year.

The Cubs selected Burdi from the Padres in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft during the offseason, and he posted a 3.38 ERA at Triple-A Iowa before getting called up Monday.

‘‘He’s been really good for Iowa,’’ president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. ‘‘Stuff’s been excellent. And I think he’s actually been somewhat unlucky.’’

Burdi’s first appearance back in the majors had its bumps. He issued a walk and yielded a double, sacrifice fly and RBI single in the seventh. His fastball, however touched 99 mph.

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