CHICAGO -- Jordan Lyles doesn’t blame the errors by his Astros teammates for his troubles. He feels he did more than enough to create his own problems.
The Astros committed two errors and Lyles allowed three unearned runs in a in a 14-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Lyles (4-2) gave up eight runs—five earned—and 10 hits in five innings for his first loss since he allowed eight runs in four innings against the Texas Rangers on May 12.
“Sometimes you don’t catch breaks. Guys make errors,” Lyles said. “But then again, I make errors.
“I’ve got to do a better job of picking them up when it doesn’t go our way,” he added. “I definitely need to pitch better out of those jams.”
Lyles was 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his last seven starts and ranked second in the AL in ERA since May 17.
Astros manager Bo Porter was impressed with how Lyles kept his composure.
“There was no body language or negative responses to any of the plays,” Porter said. “He continued to make pitches, and I told him that when he came out of the game. I said, ‘You did a good job of battling through a tough situation and next time out we’ll pick up the ball better.”’
Ryan Sweeney had a career-high six RBIs, including a three-run homer, for the Cubs. The center fielder drove in runs in each of his first four at-bats, capping the stretch with his longball to right-center field. He also had two doubles and a run-scoring grounder in the second inning.
Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo added a two-run home run and finished 3 for 3 with four runs scored and four RBIs.
Chicago scored its most runs and had its most hits (16) this season. All nine starters reached base for the Cubs.
“Anytime you’re scoring 14 runs with 16 hits, it’s contagious,” Sweeney said. “Everybody hit the ball great today and it was fun to watch.”
Astros right fielder Marc Krauss committed a throwing error and the Cubs scored a run in the second inning. Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez had a fielding error in the third inning, when the Cubs scored four runs.
“We didn’t play fundamentally sound baseball, and when you don’t catch the ball, you increase the other team’s chances of scoring runs,” Porter said. “And give the Cubs credit, they took advantage of our miscues, and they put up a lot of crooked numbers.”
The Cubs’ outburst helped erase a pair of errors from shortstop Starlin Castro, who leads the majors with 14 errors.
Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (5-7) won his second straight, with five strikeouts and no walks. It was his first start without yielding a walk this season.
Houston first baseman Chris Carter finished with a career-high three doubles among his four hits. He drove in two runs and scored twice.
Porter complimented hitting coach John Mallee for his work with Carter. Mallee told Porter to credit Carter’s hard work in the batting cage and video room.
“It was good to see him drive the ball the other way,” Porter said. “He’s been doing that this last week or so and it’s coming together.”
Chicago pulled away in the fifth inning with consecutive hits by Alfonso Soriano, Rizzo and Sweeney. Each scored to give Chicago an 8-3 lead. Soriano hit his first triple of the season and Rizzo hit a looping single to shallow center field. Sweeney’s double sent Houston center fielder Justin Maxwell sprinting toward the warning track and the ball bounced off his glove. Rizzo beat the relay throw to home plate. Second baseman Darwin Barney added a two-out RBI single.
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve tried sparking a rally for the second straight day, this time leading off the fourth with a single. Jason Castro followed with a double and Altuve scored on J.D. Martinez’s groundout.
Carter had a run-scoring double and Castro scored on Starlin Castro’s first error, a wild throw on a routine grounder by Matt Dominguez.
Chicago jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Samardzija started the inning with a single and the Cubs loaded the bases on an error by Gonzalez and a walk. Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run single. Rizzo followed with a sacrifice fly and Sweeney doubled in two more runs.
“Sometimes it could be a lack of concentration, more the speed of the play and understanding how hard the ball is hit or how slow the ball is hit, the speed of the runners,” Porter said about the errors. “But at the end of the day you have to catch the baseball.”
Wade LeBlanc allowed four runs in 1 2-3 innings and Wesley Wright gave up two runs in the eighth for the Astros bullpen.
NOTES: Maxwell hit in the leadoff position for the first time this season. .The Astros are off Monday before they begin a nine-game homestand against the Cardinals, Angels and Rays.