Chicago, IL – Ryan Sweeney hit a three-run homer and knocked in six runs as the Chicago Cubs dominated the Houston Astros, 14-6, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer, four RBI and four runs scored for the Cubs, who had 16 hits. Nate Schierholtz went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and two scored, while Luis Valbuena and Darwin Barney added an RBI apiece.
Chicago starter Jeff Samardzija (5-7) allowed four runs -- three earned -- on nine hits while striking out five over seven innings.
Chris Carter went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Astros, who had 13 hits. Matt Dominguez and J.D. Martinez each knocked in a run.
Houston starter Jordan Lyles (4-2) gave up eight runs -- five earned -- on 10 hits over five innings. The right-hander came into Sunday's game with a 3-0 mark over his previous seven starts.
"Sometimes you don't catch breaks," said Lyles. "Guys make errors but then again I make errors all the time."
The Cubs' offense started to get going in the second. Rizzo led off with a double to right that deflected off second baseman Jose Altuve. Rizzo moved to third on Marc Krauss' throwing error and scored on Sweeney's groundout.
Chicago tacked on four more runs in the third. Samardzija singled, Valbuena reached first on shortstop Marwin Gonzalez's fielding error and Starlin Castro walked to load the bases. Schierholtz followed with a two-run single to right- center field. After Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging, Rizzo added a sacrifice fly and Sweeney hit an RBI double to left-center field.
Houston managed to get three of the runs back in the fourth. Altuve singled and Jason Castro doubled to start things. Martinez's RBI groundout and Carter's run-scoring double to left-center field cut the gap to 5-2. With two outs, Dominguez reached first on Starlin Castro's throwing error, which allowed Carter to score.
The Cubs scored three runs of their own in the fifth. Soriano tripled and raced home on Rizzo's base hit. Sweeney's RBI double and Barney's run-scoring single made it 8-3 Chicago.
Dominguez's RBI single in the sixth cut the gap to four.
The Cubs added four more runs in the seventh to turn the game into a rout. Sweeney hit a three-run homer to right and Valbuena added an RBI triple later in the frame.
"I got into some good hitters' counts," said Sweeney. "First couple weeks I hadn't been so good with runners in scoring position but the last couple of games I've been trying to focus on that."
Carter hit an RBI double in the top of the eighth, but Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the bottom half.
The Astros scored once in the ninth to account for the final margin. A run scored when Martinez grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.
Samardzija improved to 4-2 lifetime against the Astros ... The Cubs went 6- for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, while Houston went 5-for-16 with RISP and left eight men on base ... Chicago had nine extra-base hits.