Lack of clutch hitting and another bullpen failure allowed the White Sox to come back to win once again against the Astros, as another quality start from Justin Verlander was wasted.
The White Sox struck first, getting to Verlander in the second inning. However, the damage could have been worse. The tough Jose Abreu opened the inning with a single and advanced to third on a no-out Yasmani Grandal single. After Yoan Moncada struck out Josh Harrison got an infield single that scored Abreu, followed by a Seby Zavala single to load the bases.
But Verlander got Lenyn Sosa to pop out and AJ Pollock to ground out to strand the bases loaded and limit the damage to one run.
The Astros took the lead in the third against Sox starter Dylan Cease. Cease walked Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel to start the inning but struck out Yordan Alvarez. However red hot Alex Bregman doubled home Gurriel (Altuve got picked off) and Kyle Tucker doubled home Bregman.
And then...Jose Altuve silenced yet another crowd of haters with a solo homer in the fifth inning.
Sliders are on the menu tonight. pic.twitter.com/bYx1nma8uF— Houston Astros (@astros) August 17, 2022
But the Astros lead would vanish in the seventh as the Sox tagged Verlander for two runs on a Josh Harrison single, a Selby Zavala walk, and a Gavin Sheets two-run double to tie the score at 3.
The normally dependable Astros bullpen lost its second consecutive game when Hector Neris allowed a walk, a single, and an RBI single to weak-hitting Yoan Moncada to give the Sox the final lead of the game in the eighth inning.
The Astros went down meekly in the ninth for their second straight loss, giving the White Sox their sixth straight win.
Not all the blame rests with the bullpen. The Astros wasted numerous scoring opportunities, leaving eight runners on base and hitting only 1-8 with runners in scoring position. In contrast, the Sox were 4-10, and therin lies the difference in the final score.
If tonight was a match race for Cy Young, the slide edge goes to Justin Verlander over Dylan Cease. Neither pitcher got the decision, both pitchers allowed three runs, but Verlander lasted seven innings, Cease only five. It was another quality start for the Astros starting pitching staff and except for the recent spotty bullpen performances, a game the Astros usually win.
But the late inning heroics the White Sox displayed coming into this series has continued against the Astros, who are now down 0-2 in this four game series.
Tomorrow is another good pitching matchup. All Star Framber Valdez goes against Michael Kopech.
Game time 7:10 CT.