CHICAGO -- There was dominant starting pitching, of course. There were a couple of big swings of the bat by Carlos Correa and a mad dash around the bases by George Springer. The Astros are back to playing their brand of baseball.Justin Verlander tossed six scoreless innings to win his
CHICAGO -- There was dominant starting pitching, of course. There were a couple of big swings of the bat by Carlos Correa and a mad dash around the bases by George Springer. The Astros are back to playing their brand of baseball.
Justin Verlander tossed six scoreless innings to win his 10th consecutive regular-season decision and Correa homered twice to lead the Astros to their fourth consecutive victory, 10-0, over the White Sox in the series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night. With the win, the defending World Series champions reclaimed sole possession of first place in the American League West for the first time since April 9. They lead the Angels by a half-game.
"That was one of our best games, obviously, in all facets," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We made some pretty good defensive plays, we swung the bats. We've been pitching like this almost the entire year. A really good night for us."
Verlander (3-0) improved to 10-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last 13 regular-season starts, including 8-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 10 starts with the Astros. He has yet to allow a run on the road this season, a stretch totaling 19 innings. Astros starting pitchers are 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA in the team's last eight games, striking out 72 in 56 innings.
"That's what we talked about in spring," Verlander said. "Every guy has the ability to go out there and shut an offense down, and over the course of the season that plays pretty well. I don't know if anybody expected us to start off this well, but we probably did. It's fun to be a part of."
White Sox starter James Shields held the Astros scoreless for three innings before Houston broke through with five runs in the fourth inning, including a two-run double by Springer, who ended up scoring on the play when an errant throw to the plate hit Marwin Gonzalez as Gonzalez was sliding home.
"That's a long run from home to home on a dead sprint, but it's all good. I'm glad to help the team," said Springer, who drove in four runs.
Another two-run double by Springer and a two-run homer by Correa in the sixth pushed the lead to 9-0, marking the second consecutive game Houston has scored nine runs. Correa homered again in the ninth. The Astros have scored 26 runs in their past three games, one more than in their previous seven games combined.
"We feel good," Correa said. "We've been swinging the bat better. It was about time. We had a sluggish week last week I feel like and this is what we like to do, this is what we do as a team when we put great at-bats together. Hopefully we can keep it rolling."
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Astros catcher Brian McCann, who had two walks and a hit Friday, has a .490 on-base percentage this season. His career high is .388 in 2006.
HE SAID IT
"You know, after the way he had been jubilant about some of the other things, I was just as jubilant about that. Very thankful he gave me an out."
-- Verlander, who took offense to Chicago's Tim Anderson celebrating a single in the fifth and then running to second on a 3-0 count. Verlander tried to pick off Anderson at second and wound up getting Omar Narvaez, who had walked, out at second base instead.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (0-3, 3.52 ERA) will start Saturday's 6:10 p.m. CT game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, facing Lucas Giolito. Keuchel is searching for his first win, but threw a complete game in his most recent outing Monday at Seattle.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.