Cubs’ skid hits five after blowing five-run lead in walk-off loss to Astros

After a replay review, Alex Bregman was confirmed to be safe. The Cubs lost 7-6 and were swept in three games by the Astros.

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The Astros’ Alex Bregman scores the game-winning run as Cubs catcher Yan Gomes reaches for the ball during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game in Houston. The Astros won 7-6.

The Astros’ Alex Bregman scores the game-winning run as Cubs catcher Yan Gomes reaches for the ball during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game in Houston. The Astros won 7-6.

David J. Phillip/AP

HOUSTON — The final play at the plate was close — so close that the Cubs challenged the safe call at home as the Astros set off their fireworks.

But after a replay review, Alex Bregman was confirmed to be safe, and the Cubs lost 7-6 in a walk-off, swept in three games by the Astros.

The Cubs seemed poised to snap their season-high four-game losing streak with an early rally and strong starting pitching, two things missing in their skid. But reliever Keegan Thompson gave up a two-run home run to Jake Myers in the ninth inning to make it a one-run game. He walked Mauricio Dubon to put the tying run on base.

“Things just aren’t going my way right now,” Thompson said. “Just had some hard contact today, and it’s a punch to the gut. It just sucks to let the team down.”

Manager David Ross called in left-hander Brandon Hughes to get the final three outs. Hughes gave up a double to Jeremy Peña and issued an intentional walk to Bregman to load the bases. He induced a grounder from Yordan Alvarez that second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni fielded and fired home for the first out.

Hughes threw four straight pitches at the bottom of the zone to Kyle Tucker, but Tucker lined a slider on the outside corner into center field for a two-run single to seal the victory.

“The boys played well enough for a win, and we didn’t do our job,” Hughes said. “So it hurts.”

The game started on a positive note for the Cubs, who scored first on an RBI triple from Dansby Swanson. Ian Happ followed him with a sac fly. Then Seiya Suzuki hit his first home run of the night.

That gave Cubs starter Drew Smyly a three-run lead to work with. He gave up a solo homer to Bregman in the first, but that was the only run he surrendered in six innings.

Smyly retired 14 consecutive batters, not counting a fielding error by third baseman Patrick Wisdom in the fifth inning. It was the longest such streak for any Cubs pitcher since Smyly’s seven perfect innings against the Dodgers last month.

The Cubs’ offense kept tacking on, with a two-run home run in the third inning from Suzuki, who went 3-for-3, and a solo shot from Christopher Morel in the fourth.

“We’ve got to win that game,” Ross said. “We’ve got to pitch better on the back end. Offense did enough tonight, played good defense overall, really nice plays. We’ve got to cash that one in.”

Suzuki power surge

It was the second multi-homer game of Suzuki’s career. Having found a rhythm, he has hit three home runs in the Cubs’ last two games, all in consecutive plate appearances.

He became the first Japanese-born player to homer in three consecutive plate appearances in MLB history, according to Elias, and the first Cub to do it since Kris Bryant on May 17, 2019.

Injury updates

Cubs reliever Brad Boxberger (strained right forearm) is headed back to Chicago for further evaluation.

Center fielder Cody Bellinger was out of the lineup for the second day since hurting his left knee on a leaping catch against the wall. Ross said he was “doing better,” and Bellinger hit in the batting cages before the game.

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