Altuve, HRs pace Astros over struggling Sox

May 19th, 2016

CHICAGO -- Jose Altuve reached base four times and the Astros got home runs from Colby Rasmus and Jason Castro to back 6 1/3 tough innings from Doug Fister in a 5-3 win over the White Sox on Wednesday.

"We can hit, and we have a dangerous team," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "People underestimate a little the quality of at-bats we can put up there when we're right. We certainly have our struggles at times, but consistency is hard to find in this league. ... We hit a couple of home runs and put the ball in play more."

The Astros got to White Sox starter Mat Latos for a run in the first on a Carlos Correa RBI single, and though Latos got out of that inning without further damage, the Astros didn't go away. Latos left after giving up five earned runs and 11 hits though 5 1/3.

"I had a hard slider today, the split was harder than what it normally was, had good depth to it," Latos said. "Some days you feel really good and you have a line like you have today, and other days you feel [terrible] and have a really good line."

The White Sox turned their second triple play of the season on a 5-4-3 sequence to get out of the eighth inning, making them the first team to turn two in one season since the 2007 Phillies, but the lineup couldn't provide the runs to make it matter. Chicago registered nine hits against Fister but left runners on in five innings, and the Houston bullpen finished the job. The White Sox have lost four straight.

Altuve went 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs while extending his hit streak to 10 games for the Astros, who improved to 3-3 through six games of their seven-game road trip.


Kemp an early hit: It didn't take Tony Kemp long to make his mark. The 5-foot-6 outfielder, who was making his first career start, slapped the first pitch he saw into left field for a double, his first Major League hit. He didn't stop there. He singled in the fourth and walked in the eighth, as well as recorded an outfield assist on the first ball he touched in left field.

"You kind of dream about that moment [when] the team's calling for the ball back in," Kemp said. "It was a pretty special moment and something I'll never forget." More >

Could have been worse: Latos said that he felt good with his slider and splitter, but he didn't have his best stuff and left pitches over the plate all game. Still, the damage could have been much worse if not for his first-inning escape job. The Astros had already scored and had runners on the corners with no outs when Latos got Rasmus to fly out before striking out Evan Gattis and Colin Moran to end the inning. After giving up only two earned runs through his first four starts, Latos has surrendered 18 earned runs in his past four outings. The Astros did have a few hits fall in, but command issues led to the home runs that did Latos in.

"It was a bunch of weak contact, bloopers that found some outfield grass, a couple of bleeders through the infield," he said. "The line looks [horrible] -- five innings, five runs, 11 hits -- but the positive on it is all the weak base hits, and it's just part of the game. ... It's not the way I want to go. I'm tired of giving up runs, frustrated, and can't do nothing about it."

Gregerson rebounds: After blowing saves in three of his previous four appearances, including Tuesday's series opener, Astros closer Luke Gregerson rebounded to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth and record his ninth save. He had converted 16 saves in a row before blowing his first of the season on May 11.

"I feel like I've kind of run into a string of bad luck, unfortunately," Gregerson said. "Some things aren't going my way, so it's always nice to get back out there, especially when you feel like you're throwing the ball well and not getting the results you want, so it was good to get back out on the mound."

Missing the big one: The White Sox had the man they wanted at the plate with two on and two out in the seventh. After Jose Abreu's RBI single made it 5-3, Todd Frazier, the team's cleanup hitter and leader in RBIs, worked a full count and drove a fastball to center field, but he was just under it and flied out to end the inning. It was not the only instance in which the White Sox couldn't get a timely hit. Chicago left seven men on base and went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"Offensively, we had some shots at it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It hasn't been clicking lately, but you get that, and it looks different. Right now it's not clicking, but they'll keep grinding away."


"There's not a lot of complaints when it comes to Doug Fister. When it comes to his time in the rotation, you feel like you're going to get five, six, seven innings of good, healthy hard work that give you a chance to win." -- Hinch, on Fister, who threw his sixth consecutive quality start

"It was just one of those guys where maybe he has an invisi-ball or he's just hitting a spot. We had opportunities. Tip your cap to him, but that's the way it goes." -- Frazier, on Fister


Astros: The Astros close out their seven-game road trip by sending Collin McHugh to the mound for Thursday's 7:10 p.m. CT game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. After winning three consecutive starts, McHugh allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings and took a no-decision in Saturday's loss in Boston.

White Sox: Left-hander Chris Sale starts the series finale against the Astros on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. Sale is 8-0 in eight starts this season and is coming off a complete game against the Yankees.

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