Bench bats lead White Sox past Astros in 11
HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto hit a two-run double off the right-field wall to break a tie in the 11th inning, and Adam LaRoche added an RBI single to lead the White Sox to a 6-3 win over the Astros in the series opener Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
"It was a nice win," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "These guys battled, and I think you look at the team wins you'll have and this is a big one, because it was a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit, knowing we were limited. Just a lot of big contributions from everybody."
The Astros scored twice in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead on a sacrifice fly by Chris Carter and a throwing error by first baseman Jose Abreu, but Gordon Beckham tied it in the eighth on a solo homer off reliever Chad Qualls.
"I think that game could have been won on both sides a couple of different times," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think missed opportunities on both sides kind of created a longer game. Any time you play that long and have multiple opportunities, it's hard to lose. The walks a couple of different times tonight came back to bite us a little bit when they came up with some big hits. It's obviously frustrating to lose."
White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, whom the Astros passed on with the No. 1 pick in last year's Draft, held Houston to three runs (one earned) and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Fellow rookie Lance McCullers Jr. of the Astros allowed two runs (one earned) and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bullpen lets one get away: Astros relievers have been so good at protecting leads it's surprising when they're not able to close the door. Qualls blew a save by allowing a game-tying homer in the eighth inning, and Tony Sipp gave up the three runs in the 11th. More >
Taking a tumble: In the fourth inning, White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers turned to his teammates for support -- quite literally. Flowers flipped over the dugout railing while tracking a foul ball and landed in the arms of a host of teammates and staff, including Ventura. The group hoisted him for approximately 10 seconds, trying to figure out how to safely deposit his 6-foot-4, 245-pound frame in the dugout's tight confines. It wasn't the only toughness he displayed Friday night, as Flowers took a foul ball off his hand in the first inning. More >
"Definitely saved me from some more pain," Flowers said. "Once my feet left underneath me, I figured I was going down. It'd be tough to catch me and also trying to dodge the ball, so a lot of things going on there.
Booms off the bench: The White Sox found their run production in an unlikely place: the bench. Four of Chicago's five RBIs came courtesy of players not in the starting lineup. The big bop was Soto's two-run double in the 11th to break a 3-3 deadlock. Soto replaced Abreu, who left the game in the eighth inning with irritation in his right index finger and is expected to rest Saturday. Beckham entered the game in the fifth -- replacing Conor Gillaspie at third base -- and drove in a pair, first with a sacrifice fly and later by booming the game-tying home run in the eighth.
"Such a strange game," Ventura said. "Got a little messy there. We were limited on who we could use and mixing and matching. Gordon with a big homer and nice to kind of battle through it."
"I think I might have saved his life. He better at least think so." -- Ventura on catching Flowers, while pointing to an ice pack on his bruised lower back suffered as a result
"He has some back issues anyway. He said I compressed him a little bit." -- Flowers' response
"It wasn't a good pitch to throw, obviously, if he's cheating fastball in that situation, and if I throw it down and away, he probably hits a ground ball. It ran middle, middle in, and he hit it out." -- Qualls, on homer surrendered to Beckham
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros were 21-0 in games in which closer Luke Gregerson had appeared before Friday.
Both managers were unsuccessful in challenging calls via instant replay. Ventura challenged a play in the sixth inning in which Luis Valbuena was called safe as Rodon stepped near the bag. The safe call was confirmed, allowing Preston Tucker to score from third base on what was ruled a throwing error by Abreu.
Hinch challenged a caught stealing at second base on Jonathan Villar in the ninth inning, a call that was also confirmed by replay officials.
White Sox: In Saturday's 3:10 p.m. CT matchup at Minute Maid Park, the White Sox will run out lefty Jose Quintana, whose last start wasn't indicative of his rock-steady season. He was shelled for seven runs (one unearned) on seven hits by a hot Twins lineup on Sunday, the first time he had allowed more than two runs in six starts. He has been prone to the big inning, which is something to watch against an Astros lineup brimming with power.
Astros: Ace lefty Dallas Keuchel will try to rebound from his first loss of the season on Monday, when he gave up a pair of two-run homers in Baltimore (he had allowed only one homer in his previous nine starts). Still, Keuchel leads the American League in opponent batting average (.190) and is second in wins (six) and third in ERA (1.98).
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