Gurriel, Springer lead Astros to walk-off in 9th

Verlander fans 10 over 7 innings, setting up Houston's late rally

July 6th, 2018

HOUSTON -- Lately, when at home, the Astros love to wait until the ninth inning. The Astros hit multiple walk-offs during their last homestand, so when they entered Thursday's ninth inning trailing by one run, what was forthcoming seemed predictable.

Houston defeated the White Sox, 4-3, at Minute Maid Park on Yuli Gurriel's game-winning single to right field.

"I'm very happy about it," Gurriel said shortly after the first Major League walk-off hit of his career.

This rally was helped by two players who hadn't played until the ninth and a slumping slugger in need of offense productivity. and , both out of Thursday's lineup, drew a walk and singled, respectively, as pinch-hitters before put aside a massive slump to knock a game-tying RBI single. Gurriel's bases-loaded single scored Gonzalez from third.

"First off, I think the inning starts with an excellent at-bat by Tony Kemp," said Astros manager AJ Hinch. "He's a little spark plug for us that continues to put up really good at-bats. ... A lot of good in that inning.

"Yuli should get as much praise as anybody to end the game. But [I am] really proud of George and Marwin to get in on the party."

Thursday's starting pitchers were sharp. Houston's racked up 10 strikeouts over seven innings of two-run ball, facing the minimum through five frames. Chicago's stalled the Astros' offense until the fifth, when fired a two-run homer onto the train tracks beyond left-center field. The better bullpen would deliver a win.

Astros reliever , who pitched the eighth inning, allowed a go-ahead solo homer to . Garcia's shot put the White Sox ahead by one until the Astros woke up in the ninth.

Verlander, who has not recorded a loss to the White Sox since 2014, dazzled through seven innings and allowed four hits with no walks. The Astros ace was tagged for two runs in the sixth, a half-inning after Altuve's moonshot, which had snapped a scoreless tie.

Altuve's homer, his eighth, was a 417-footer that peaked at a height of 118 feet, per Statcast™'s projected distance. Altuve scored , who doubled in the previous at-bat.

"If we can just hang in there with teams," Hinch said, "we have some of these late-inning heroics."


Rodon's pitch count soared into the 100s in the sixth inning, when the White Sox lefty walked and with one out. For the second time, the Astros -- who drew nine walks -- grounded into an inning-ending double play and couldn't cash in for a big inning.

"I felt like we had first and second virtually every inning," Hinch said. "A couple double plays, that continues to be an Achilles' heel for us. I don't know if we're leading the world in them, but it feels like it."


• The Astros have recorded a walk-off hit in each of their past four series at Minute Maid.

• Gurriel is hitting .420 with runners in scoring position this season, which leads the American League.


"Oh, you feel good. You feel like you're able to contribute. I think that this team has done a heck of a job these last three weeks that I haven't been a part of. It's tough. But you know what, it's not about me. It's about the team." -- Springer, on his game-tying single amid a weeks-long slump


will make his 18th start of the season at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park. McCullers' start will be on extended rest. The righty has not pitched since June 28, a calendar week between starts. The Astros will face Chicago right-hander in the second meeting of a four-game series.