Rodney Dangerfield Doug Fister continued to pitch well, as he provided the Astros with 6.1 solid innings of work. He won't overpower many offenses, but thus far he has provided the club with consistent production from the bottom of the rotation. Tonight was another great example. Fister got off to a rocky start, as the White Sox started off with 3 straight hits. The damage was limited to just 1 run though, as Tony Kemp started his first game about as well as you can, as he threw out the leadoff hitter Adam Eaton with a strong, accurate throw to second. Fister continued his "bend but don't break" production, and was very solid once again.
The bullpen was called upon in the 7th, with some interesting decisions by manager A.J. Hinch. Ken Giles was asked to immediately relieve Fister, and although an inherited runner did score, he pitched admirably. Will Harris was called upon in the 8th, and was his dominant self (among the consternation in the bullpen, Will Harris has been really, really good this season). Lastly, the biggest surprise was seeing Luke Gregerson warming up for the save. The 9th inning started of tense after Gregerson fell behind leadoff hitter Alex Avila 3-0, but for some odd reason, he swung at ball four on a 3-1 count. After that gift, Gregerson settled down and made quick work for the save, as the bottom of the 9th went three up and three down.
On the offensive side, it was nice to see a balanced attack throughout the lineup. Every starter had at least one hit, except for Colin Moran, who at least worked a walk and got on base. It turns out that scoring runs is a lot easier when more than just the top four hitters in the lineup actually do something, who knew?!?
It was nice to see another Colby Jack, and it was perfect timing, as the telecast was explaining the awesome story about Rasmus and one of his big fans, Owen. I hope Owen enjoyed the no doubter. Jason Castro also added a solo shot, and it was a no doubter as well. Tony Kemp in the nine hole fits really nicely. His contact rate, speed, and energy is a nice way to set the table for Jose Altuve, who continues to make hitting a baseball look way too easy.
Lastly, I feel the defense deserves a little love. Tony Kemp started it off with the aforementioned assist on the very first play of the game. Moving over to CF, Colby Rasmus added to hit great night by contributing defensively as well. Rasmus ended the 5th inning by making a great running catch in right-center. If Rasmus doesn't get there, 2 runs score on the extra-base hit, with the game-tying run in scoring position. Great catch with great implications. Just to round out the outfield, George Springer also covered a ton of real estate and made a nice running catch close to the foul line. The sheer distance covered was impressive.
The victory guarantees a series win against a 1st place team. Hopefully the good guys continue to play well and inch towards .500, and then we'll start getting a little more respect.
Welcome to the big leagues Tony Kemp and Colin Moran!