CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Thanks to
, the race in the National League Central Division is even tighter.
Alou's three-run homer against his former team in the bottom of the fifth inning bailed out a shaky
posted a 6-4 victory over the
The win moved the Cubs within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Astros.
"I think we've been playing good baseball all year and I think our best baseball is still ahead of us," Chicago manager
The Cubs have rebounded from Monday's loss to win two straight against the Astros. The teams complete their four-game showdown Thursday.
"We're playing well because everybody is doing the job," Alou said. "It's not just one guy."
Alou's home run off
, his 18th of the season, staked the Cubs to a 6-4 lead, and the bullpen did the rest.
Five Chicago relievers combined on 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in relief of Estes, who surrendered four runs and walked five in 4 1/3 innings.
"That's how you win pennants," Cubs catcher
said. "When you get into situations where the pen comes in and pitches the way they did today, that separates good teams from average ones."
(1-3), who got the final two outs in the fifth, recorded the win.
worked around a pair of two-out hits in the ninth to register his 22nd save.
"They have a good team," Astros center fielder
said. "We respect them. They have a good lineup and some good arms."
The Astros erased a 3-2 deficit with two runs in the top of the fifth, but
started the bottom half with singles to chase Houston starter
"Early on, I didn't establish the strike zone like I should have and when you're missing, it's hard to get guys out," Robertson said. "So, when you bring it over, they hit it."
Miceli struck out
, but Alou hit a 2-2 pitch into the bleachers in left field.
"A 2-2 count, just tried to get a split-finger over, and I got it up and he hit it," Miceli said.
After the Astros grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second on
's home run, the Cubs answered with three runs in the bottom on Amaris Ramirez's RBI double and Miller's two-run double.
The Astros closed to 3-2 in the third on
's run-scoring double, then took advantage of Estes' wildness in the fifth.
"Some days, he (Estes) gets where he fights himself," Miller said. "I thought his stuff today was good. He got into a couple jams and I'm sure he's looking forward to his next start."
Estes issued three walks in the inning, including one to Hidalgo with the bases loaded that forced in the tying run. Guthrie took over for Estes and gave up a sacrifice fly to