Astros 5, Cubs 4
HOUSTON (AP) _ Scott Elarton won his fifth straight decision and reliever Joe Slusarski escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning Monday night to give the Houston Astros a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Sammy Sosa hit his major league-leading 43rd home run for the Cubs, connecting for the fifth time in four games. Chicago lost its season-high sixth in a row.
Elarton (14-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings and left with a 5-3 lead.
Octavio Dotel took over to start the ninth and walked the bases loaded with no outs. Slusarski got Ricky Gutierrez to ground into a double play, with one run scoring, and retired Mark Grace on a fly ball to earn his second save.
Richard Hidalgo hit his 32nd homer for Houston. Tony Eusebio extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a third-inning single.
Elarton hasn’t lost since July 21 against St. Louis. Since then, he is 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in six starts.
Kevin Tapani (8-10) gave up five runs on six hits in six innings.
The Cubs went ahead 2-0 in the fourth when Damon Buford doubled and Willie Greene homered. Greene became the first Chicago player to homer other than Sammy Sosa since Aug. 8.
Julio Lugo led off the bottom half with a double and scored on Tim Bogar’s single. One out later, Hidalgo homered.
Sosa hit a solo homer in the fifth that made it 3-all.
Astros scored twice in the sixth on Hidalgo’s sacrifice fly and Moises Alou’s RBI single.
Notes: Jeff Bagwell’s hitting streak ended at 18 games. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. ... The Cubs’ losing streak is their longest since a six-game skid last Sept. 7-12. ... Greene’s home run was his first since June 16. ... Alou is hitting .439 (18-for-41) in his last 11 games.