Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (4/24/24): Cubs 4, Astros 3 – Swanson Homer Just Enough in Tight Win

The Cubs played host to the Astros on a cold and windy Wednesday night at Wrigley and once again jumped ahead early. Unlike Tuesday’s game, Chicago was not able to expand on the lead in this contest and had to sweat out a one-run victory to secure a series win.

The Cubs immediately rallied on Houston starter Spencer Arrighetti with singles from Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ to put runners on the corners with one out in the 1st. Michael Busch then came to bat and hit a high sacrifice fly to center field to give his team a 1-0 advantage.

That was not the end of the scoring in the opening frame, however, as Christopher Morel drew a walk to put two on with two out for Dansby Swanson. The shortstop got a cutter from Arrighetti on the inside corner and powered it through the wind into the left field bleachers for a three-run home run that increased the margin to 4-0.

Jameson Taillon got the start for the Cubs and did a very good job for the second consecutive outing. The Astros did score twice in the 3rd inning when they hit a pair of singles and Busch dropped Taillon’s throw to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt for an error that allowed a run to score. An Alex Bregman RBI infield single cut the lead to 4-2 before the frame finally ended.

Neither team did much offensively through the next few innings, although Mark Leiter Jr. wriggled out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the 8th thanks to a great defensive play by Morel at third. Héctor Neris got the save opportunity in the 9th and immediately gave up a solo shot to José Altuve, but then he got the next three batters in order to preserve the 4-3 win. (Box score)

Key Moment

Victor Caratini was at bat with men on first and third with one out in the 8th inning. The former Cub hit a line smash toward third and Morel leaped high in the air to snag it and save at least one and possibly two runs from scoring. Leiter then struck out Jake Meyers to escape the jam with the Cubs still ahead 4-2.

Why the Cubs Won

The offense almost completely dried up after the opening inning, so it was up to the pitching staff to preserve the lead. They were able to do just that even though it got pretty hairy at times.

Stats That Matter

  • The Cubs would love to get this version of Taillon for the rest of 2024: 5.2 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 4 K, and 2 BB.
  • Hoerner had two more hits and continues to stay hot.
  • Morel had a single in addition to his walk. Despite the low batting average, his walk rate is way up and his plate appearances have been very good.

Bottom Line

Every victory the Cubs get with so many key players injured is absolutely huge. With Cody Bellinger joining numerous other stars on the injured list, there is no such thing as an ugly win right now. Despite Houston’s current bad record, this remains an impressive series win.

On Deck

The Cubs go for the sweep Thursday afternoon at 1:20pm CT. Javier Assad takes the mound against the ageless Justin Verlander in a contest broadcast on Marquee and 670 The Score.

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