May 7, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Brandon Bielak (64) throws a pitch against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros are hoping to clinch a second consecutive road series win with a victory over the White Sox on Saturday.
Mauricio Dubon and Corey Julks had two hits apiece for the Astros on Friday, who have won three games in a row for the first time since a four-game winning streak from April 19-23.
Rookie J.P. France (1-0) picked up his first career win for Houston on Friday night, pitching into the seventh inning and allowing one earned run.
Astros first baseman Jose Abreu went 1-for-5 in his return to Guaranteed Rate Field. Abreu, whose nine seasons with the White Sox included an American League MVP award, signed with Houston in the offseason.
Astros manager Dusty Baker shifted Abreu down one spot from his usual cleanup role in the batting order on Friday. Abreu, who is hitting .218 with no home runs this season, isn’t bristling.
“I think as long as I’m in the lineup, I think that’s fine,” Abreu said, “but the reality is I’m not swinging the bat well, so, you know, if I need to move, I need to move.”
Right-hander Brandon Bielak (0-1, 4.15) is set to start for the Astros on Saturday.
Bielak allowed three runs (two earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. He was making first start since 2021.
Bielak has yet to record a decision to go with a 3.18 ERA in three career relief appearances against the White Sox. He has eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
A team meeting ahead of the opener of a nine-game homestand didn’t provide much of a jolt for the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Losers of three games in a row to fall 14 games under .500 to open the season, the White Sox will try to get on track Saturday night when they host the Houston Astros.
Houston took a 3-2 lead in the season series after posting a 5-1 victory on Friday. The start of the game was delayed by rain for more than two hours, and Chicago struggled to mount much offense once things finally got going.
The White Sox were out-hit 8-3 and didn’t record a hit after the fifth inning. Chicago center fielder Luis Robert went 2-for-3 while driving in the team’s lone run with a homer in the second inning.
Ace right-hander Dylan Cease (2-2, 5.58 ERA) will aim to get the White Sox going as he seeks his first victory since April 10.
Cease was blasted for seven runs and nine hits in five innings in Monday’s 12-5 loss at Kansas City. Cease, who struck out six, said he felt better than in recent starts, however.
“I was throwing in the zone much better,” he said. “Just working through some things right now, but I think it’s close. I need to kind of hunker down with my slider. I’ve been backing them up and not getting the consistency that I need. And it really comes down to executing.”
Cease is 0-3 with a 5.13 ERA in five career starts against the Astros. That includes 6 1/3 innings of one-run, two-hit ball in a no-decision at Houston on March 30.
–Field Level Media