HOUSTON — Chris Sale bounced back from a rough first few innings to earn his 14th win of the season as the White Sox beat the Astros 7-6 Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Things looked pretty bleak for Sale through the first three innings. After allowing a solo homer to Jose Altuve in the first, he was touched for three in the third thanks for a rally started by the bottom of Houston’s order and a little small ball.
Danny Worth led off the inning with a walk, Jake Marisnick tried to sacrifice him to second and wound up with a bunt single, and after George Springer’s long flyout advanced Worth to third, he scored on a safety squeeze bunt by Marwin Gonzalez. Back-to-back singles by Altuve and Carlos Correa followed and Sale and the Sox trailed 4-2.
Thankfully for the Sox, Doug Fister couldn’t find the strike zone all afternoon and, thanks almost entirely to Dioner Navarro (that’s designated hitter Dioner Navarro to you), and J.B. Shuck (that’s Home Run Hitter J.B. Shuck) he wasn’t long for the game.
Navarro drove home the first two runs of the game on a triple that maybe, possibly would’ve definitely been a triple anyway had Springer not bobbled the ball that was driven out to right-center field, scoring Todd Frazier and Alex Avila. After Shuck hit his third home run of the season to pull the Sox within a run, Navarro came up again in the fifth, this time with the bases loaded and two outs against a laboring Fister, and drove a two-run single to left field to give the Sox the lead for good and end Fister’s day.
The White Sox margin of victory could’ve been even more comfortable if not for a couple of baserunning gaffes. Navarro was thrown out at home after the aforementioned triple when he was off on contact on a ground ball to third base by Shuck. Adam Eaton found a way to get thrown out at both third base AND home plate in the same game. He slipped while rounding third base on a single by Brett Lawrie in the third inning, tried to score anyway, and was thrown out easily, and then tried to take third base on a ball in the dirt in the fifth only to be gunned down. That’s three TOOTBLANs in five innings for the White Sox, if you’re scoring at home.
After reliever Michael Feliz basically shut down the Sox for three innings following Fister’s departure, saving Houston’s bullpen a lot of extra work, the Sox gave Sale some rare insurance. Avisail Garcia’s two-out single in the eighth was the only baserunner allowed by Feliz (he struck out seven), but after he was lifted for Tony Sipp, Shuck drove home Garcia with an RBI triple and Tim Anderson followed with an RBI double to complete the White Sox scoring for the afternoon. Every member of the starting lineup recorded a base hit on Saturday except Avila, who walked twice.
As is life with the White Sox, the end did not come without drama. Sale’s afternoon ended after the first two hitters of the eighth inning reached — a single by Springer and two-base error by Frazier off the bat of Gonzalez, but Nate Jones came in and limited the damage, allowing a sacrifice fly to Altuve before retiring Correa and Gomez. Sale’s final line was 7 IP, 4 ER, BB, 9 K.
Team record: 41-40
Lead Image Credit: Kim Klement // USA Today Sports Images