It was all written. There was no way for Jake Diekman to get away with the zero in such a handicapped environment. Two outs, bases loaded against Yordan Álvarez. First pitch is a ball away. Second pitch is a 96-mph sinker in the middle. Yordan didn’t miss that and launched a massive double against the right-center field wall to clear de bases and put the Astros ahead 5-3.
Minutes later, the Astros sealed their first win of the 2023 season, beating the White Sox 6-3 and completing a beautiful comeback.
I got the sense, though, that this win wouldn’t have happened had not been for the Astros’ defense in the seventh inning.
First, Tim Anderson got robbed by a great barehand play by Alex Bregman at third base against Anderson’s slow grounder to get him out. Luis Robert Jr. followed with a single and, immediately, Kyle Tucker made one for the highlight reel, jumping against the wall to complete this phenomenal running catch and get the second out.
Not only did Tucker make what might’ve been a game-saving catch but he also helped the Astros big-time offensively. Facing veteran Lance Lynn, Tucker swatted a 437-foot moonshot over the center-field fence to bring the Astros closer 3-2 in the sixth.
However, before the sixth inning, there wasn’t much going on for Houston except for Cristian Javier’s performance in his first start of ’23. The righty went five innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs while walking one and striking out six hitters.
The bullpen was excellent this time after a rough showing on Thursday night. Four guys –Phil Maton, Seth Martínez (W), Bryan Abreu, and Rafael Montero— combined to get the final four innings with only three hits allowed, no runs, no walks, and five punchouts.
The Astros and White Sox will meet again on Saturday in the third contest of a four-game series. At 1:10 pm (CT), José Urquidy will make his first start of the year. Lucas Giolito will be his counterpart.