The Astros came into Chicago last night thinking about a sweep of the South-siders on their way to their fifth consecutive ALCS. As it turned out, the main sticks being wielded were those by the White Sox hitters, with a hitting barrage that buried the Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS, 12-6.
Astros starter Luis Garcia started shaky, allowing a leadoff single to Tim Anderson on a 3-2 count. After two well-hit lineouts, Yasmani Grandal walked, followed by an RBI single by Eloy Jimenez.
But Astros bats came alive in the second inning when Chicago starter Dylan Cease walked Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa. Kyle Tucker continued tonight where he left off Friday with a rocket two-run double to right-center. Tucker scored the third run of the inning on a Jake Meyers single.
The Astros got a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 lead with two runs in the third inning with more Kyle Tucker post-season heroics, this time a two run homer to left center similar to the one he hit Friday.
Tucker is the first Astro to have back-to-back three-RBI games in the playoffs.
The lead was seemingly insurmountable because in the second inning Luis Garcia seemed to have found his bearings, striking out two en route to a scoreless frame.
But in the third the Sox put up five runs to take a 6-5 lead. It started with a Luis Roberts walk followed by a one-out, Grandal oppo-taco, just barely homer to left field. Then, Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets got back-to-back singles with two outs.
With a 2-0 count on Leury Garcia, Astros manager Dusty Baker sent starter Luis Garcia to the showers and brought in reliever Yimi Garcia. On a 3-1 count Yimi Garcia surrendered a three-run homer to Leury Garcia, with starter Luis Garcia grimacing painfully in the dugout as a helpless onlooker.
The Astros tied the score in the top of the fourth at six-all when Alex Bregman singled in Jose Altuve, who walked with two outs followed by a Michael Brantley single.
But in the bottom of the fourth everything went wrong for the Astros and went right for the White Sox as they took a 9-6 lead.
With Yimi Garcia still on the mound, Tim Anderson got an infield, lead-off single, followed by a seeing-eye grounder to right field by Luis Roberts. Jose Abreu then hit in Anderson with a sharp grounder to center which chased Garcia.
Zack Greinke, making his first ever playoff appearance as a reliever, induced a grounder to first, but Yuli Gurriel’s throw home hit the runner Yasmani Grandal, allowing Luis Roberts to score and putting Jose Abreu at third, still no outs.
Eloy Jimenez then hit a soft grounder to third for another infield hit, this one scoring Abreu for the third run of the inning.
Greinke managed to limit damage with no more runs allowed, despite surrendering a one-out hit to load the bases.
Following Greinke, the Astros relievers Cristian Javier and Ryne Stanek held the the White Sox scoreless until two-outs in the eighth. At that point, with nobody on base, Dusty Baker put lefty Brooks Raley in to face Yoan Moncada, batting right. Moncada singled, followed by four more hits resulting in three more White Sox runs.
If the Astros could have scored three runs in the ninth, Baker’s decision to bring in the left Raly against the Sox murderers’ row of right-handers would have been decisive. His decision to yank L. Garcia for Y. Garcia will definitely be subject to second-guessing.
The Astros failed to get a hit after the fourth inning after pasting Dylan Cease and his immediate relief, Michael Kopech , for six runs.
The Astros try again to close out the series in Chicago Monday, 2:37 CDT. The Astros pitcher is as yet undetermined, though likely to be Jose Urquidy. The White Sox have Carlos Rodon scheduled.