May 13, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Brandon Bielak (64) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros fell to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday evening on a windy night in the Windy City.
Both offenses struggled to score throughout the game, but the White Sox put together two runs in the eighth inning to hand the Astros (20-19) the 3-1 loss.
The White Sox (14-27) separated themselves from Houston in the bottom of the eighth inning to outlast the Astros. Houston turned to right-handed reliever Rafael Montero with the game tied at 1. He immediately gave up a double down the right field line to third baseman Yoán Moncada.
Moncada was followed in the batting order by Luis Robert Jr., who has hurt the Astros all weekend. Robert, who got Chicago on the board first on Saturday with a solo home run in the fourth inning, hit a line drive single to right in the eighth.
Robert’s hit brought Moncada home and gave Chicago the 2-1 advantage.
The White Sox added to their lead with a bloop fly ball single from Seby Zavala, which scored Robert from second base and made it 3-1 in favor of Chicago. Closer Kendall Graveman shut the door on the Astros in the ninth inning.
After giving up a leadoff single to shortstop Jeremy Peña, Graveman struck out left fielder Corey Julks, got Yainer Díaz to ground out, and center fielder Jake Meyers to fly out to end the game.
Astros’ lone run
Houston’s offense was held in check all evening long. White Sox starter Dylan Cease pitched six shutout innings. The shutout ended when he was taken out of the game. Chicago went away from Cease and turned to right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez.
The Astros tied the game in a crazy sequence in the seventh inning. Lopez gave up two hits, a single to Peña and another single to Meyers. In between the two hits was an at-bat by Julks, which ended with a ground ball that led to Peña being forced out at second base.
The White Sox tried to turn the double play, but Julks was just able to beat out the throw to first base. Julks was initially called out, but the Astros challenged the call, which was overturned by replay review. Meyes’ fly ball single put runners at the corners for second baseman Mauricio Dubón and also forced a pitching change by the White Sox.
Chicago turned to right-handed reliever Joe Kelly, who Houston fans know well, needing one out to get out of the inning. Dubón singled on a chopper off home plate that went high in the air between the pitcher’s mound and first base.
Kelly actually caught the ball off the ricochet, but the bang-bang play also forced first baseman Andrew Vaughn to run toward the baseball, which meant first base was left uncovered. The play not only allowed Dubón to reach first base safely but scored Julks from third base.
Despite being on the mound when the Astros tied the game, Kelly notched the victory on Saturday. Graveman tallied the save, and Houston’s Montero took the loss.
Houston starting pitcher Brandon Bielak had a strong showing against the White Sox. He pitched five innings, allowing only one earned run against Chicago. He also struck out four batters on only 80 pitches.
News and notes
• Second baseman José Altuve played his second game with the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys on Saturday as he continues his rehab assignment. He went 0-for-5 and struck out twice.
• Right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. threw another bullpen session on Saturday in Chicago prior to the Astros’ game against the White Sox, according to Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. There is still no update on when he is expected to return.
• Lerner also reported that Houston manager Dusty Baker plans for outfielder Chas McCormick to play in the series finale against the White Sox on Sunday. He has been available off the bench in the past two outings. McCormick has not played since Monday against the Angels.
The Astros will look to take the series finale on Sunday afternoon against the White Sox. Right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown (3-1, 3.23 ERA) is expected to take the mound for the Astros against Chicago’s Lucas Giolito (2-2, 3.59 ERA).