Zack Greinke tossed six solid innings in his second start with the Astros, George Springer and Jose Altuve hit solo home runs, and Houston topped the Chicago White Sox 6-2 in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
Greinke (12-4) allowed two runs on seven hits in winning for the second time since Houston acquired him from Arizona in a deal at the trade deadline. The 35-year-old struck out six, walked two and hit a batter in a 102-pitch outing that was sharper than his Astros debut last week when he allowed five runs in six innings to Colorado.
Springer connected on the first pitch of the day as the AL West-leading Astros won for the ninth time in 10 games. He also threw out a runner at the plate from right field.
Will Harris, Ryan Pressly and Collin McHugh each followed Greinke with a perfect inning.
Robinson Chirinos drove in two runs late with a pair of singles.
Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu drove in runs with doubles as Chicago came back to tie it from an early 2-0 deficit.
The Astros took the lead for good in the sixth when Yordan Alvarez scored an unearned run on the first of three passed balls charged to Welington Castillo.
Jake Marisnick scored from third in the seventh to make it 4-2 when Castillo failed to catch a high pitch to Alvarez.
Making his seventh start, Cease (2-5) allowed four runs - two earned - in six-plus innings. The rookie right-hander yielded five hits and walked five.
Ivan Nova tossed a four-hitter and the Chicago White Sox took advantage of an injury to Cole, one of Houston's aces, for a 4-1 win and split of their doubleheader on Tuesday.
Cole, 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA, was listed on the lineup for the nightcap, but the right-hander didn't start after experiencing right hamstring discomfort while he warmed up. He was set to try for his 11th straight win. Instead righty Chris Devenski (2-1) took the mound and lasted just two innings in taking the loss.
Nova (8-9) limited high-scoring Houston to one unearned run and walked none in his second complete game this season and 10th of his career as he improved to 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts. After hitting Carlos Correa with a pitch in the fourth, the right hander retired 16 straight batters.
Ryan Goins drove in two runs with a single to cap Chicago's three-run second inning. Ryan Cordell doubled in a run and Adam Engel added an RBI single.
Devenski allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits in his first start of the season and seventh of his career. His error on Cordell's grounder down the first-base line in the second helped set up Chicago's rally.
Three Astros releivers - Joe Biagini, Hector Rondon and Joe Smith - followed and allowed one run the rest of the way.
Springer drove in the lone run for the Astros in the second game.
Alex Bregman didn't start either game due to a sore shoulder suffered when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday.
Leury Garcia (bruised finger on right hand) sat out both games.
Manager Rick Renteria said 3B Yoan Moncada (strained right hamstring) is progressing as he works out with the team, but there's no timetable for his return.
Astros LHP Wade Miley (11-4, 2.99) faces White Sox LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 5.35) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Miley has wins in five straight decisions with a 2.11 ERA in an seven-game span, and has won three straight starts.