CHICAGO -- Kevan Smith had a career night and launched his third big league home run as the White Sox handed Dallas Keuchel and the first-place Astros a rare road loss with an 8-5 win at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday.White Sox left-hander Derek Holland was solid for the second
CHICAGO -- Kevan Smith had a career night and launched his third big league home run as the White Sox handed Dallas Keuchel and the first-place Astros a rare road loss with an 8-5 win at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday.
White Sox left-hander Derek Holland was solid for the second consecutive start after allowing a 9.46 ERA over his previous 10 outings. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and striking out five but with a career-high seven walks. The only outburst against him came in the second, when Alex Bregman drove a triple to right-center with the bases loaded. Holland got the offensive boost he needed from Smith, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and four RBIs (both career highs), hitting a two-run shot off Keuchel in the fourth.
"I had a good night, but a lot of us had a good night," Smith said. "We knew what he featured and how great of a pitcher he is, and I think a lot of us just worked a lot of counts, looked for pitches up in the zone, and a lot of us were on base. Fortunately, I was in the right position to get a few hits with guys on."
Tyler Clippard came in to collect his first save in a White Sox uniform, working around two singles. The Astros brought it to within three in the seventh, on a pair of solo shots from Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel off Jake Petricka. Tuesday marked just the Astros' 16th road loss this season in 54 games, and gave the struggling White Sox their fifth win since July 4.
"These young players will have days when seemingly it all comes together," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Today was one of those days."
Keuchel, making his third start since coming off the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck, got rocked early as the White Sox scored three in the first inning on RBI singles from Avisail Garcia and Yoan Moncada as well as an RBI fielder's choice from Leury Garcia. Keuchel couldn't avoid trouble and allowed a season-high eight runs over four innings -- just the second time this season he hasn't been able to finish five, with both coming since his return from injury.
"I just didn't make very good pitches," Keuchel said. "That's the name of the game. It seems like I haven't really been able to get ahead of anybody in the three games since I've been back, and that's proven to be bad. Put the team in a bad position, and you look up and it's a lot of hits, lot of runs."
• Rogers: Keuchel raising more questions than answers
White Sox All-Star Avisail Garcia, who came off the disabled list Tuesday after missing nearly two weeks with a strained ligament in his right thumb, finished 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Way up: White Sox center fielder Adam Engel has fit right in defensively since his May 26 Major League debut. However, no play could top his leaping snag to lead off the fourth inning. Houston catcher Brian McCann barreled up a ball to right-center field that traveled 392 feet and had an exit velocity of 99.3 mph, according to Statcast™, but it wasn't hit out of the reach of Engel, who skied above the fence to bring in the would-be home run and keep the White Sox lead at three.
"Top one this year, and probably the top 10 [I've seen]," Renteria said. "That was a pretty good catch, a great catch."
"Man, any time you make a big catch in a game that helps your team win, they're all right up there," Engel said. "Tonight I was able to help the team win, take a run away from those guys, so it was pretty special." More >>
• Was Engel's catch the best of the night?
Buried: Even after a dribbler up the middle and a blooper fell in for hits, Holland looked as if he could get out of the second inning unscathed. Leading 3-0, he had a 3-2 count with two outs to Astros nine-hole hitter Jake Marisnick but Holland bounced a slider for ball four to load the bases. Bregman followed with a bases-clearing triple to tie the game and erase the early White Sox lead.
"He was kind of pounding us all in early," Bregman said. "I was trying to get something out over the plate, something away. I was fortunate to put a good swing on it. Guys did a good job getting on base in front of me."
"To be able to go as long as I did with seven walks is huge," Holland said. "Frustrating though is the walks, you can't defend a free pass. But I made the most out of it."
"I'm surprised any time he's not almost perfect. He's been so dominant for so many starts. If he's not particularly strong, it's a little surprising. He had a real injury, took a lot of time off. He's trying to get his rhythm, his timing. He feels good. Just an adjustment getting back to his level." -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch, on Keuchel
"That's one of the greatest catches I've ever seen, to go out there and rob McCann. As soon as I gave it up, I thought it was gone. I really thought it was 30 rows deep when he hit it." -- Holland, on Engel's catch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Bregman's three-run triple marked his ninth game in a row with an extra-base hit, which ties the longest such streak in the Majors this season and the second-longest in Astros history with Jeff Bagwell in 1997. With an extra-base hit on Wednesday, he would tie Richard Hidalgo for the franchise mark set in 2000. More >>
• The White Sox scored eight runs Tuesday, their highest output in 30 games.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
With runners on first and second, and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Astros reliever Joe Musgrove spun and attempted to pick off Leury Garcia for being too far off the bag. Altuve took the throw at second base and applied the tag for the out. The White Sox challenged the call, and it was overturned after a review, sending Garcia back to second base.
Astros:Collin McHugh (0-0, 3.24 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season on Wednesday against the White Sox in the second game of a three-game set. He's posted back-to-back quality starts since coming off an elbow injury. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.
White Sox:Miguel Gonzalez (5-10, 5.15) got rocked in his last start, giving up seven runs over 1 2/3 innings at Fenway Park. He'll face the Astros on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Preview >>
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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Astros on Tuesday.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.