CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada played hero for the first time with a game-tying blast and followed it up with a walk-off single, giving the White Sox their second series sweep of the season as they knocked off the Astros, 3-2, in 11 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday."It was
CHICAGO -- Yoan Moncada played hero for the first time with a game-tying blast and followed it up with a walk-off single, giving the White Sox their second series sweep of the season as they knocked off the Astros, 3-2, in 11 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday.
"It was something indescribable," said Moncada through interpreter Billy Russo. "All my emotions were to the roof when I hit that ball and then when I was running the bases. It was something unique."
Despite their skid in the Windy City -- which included matching a season-high losing streak of three games to culminate a 4-10 stretch -- the Astros hold a 13-game lead over the Mariners in the American League West.
• Moncada comes up clutch
Ranked the top prospect by MLBPipeline.com, Moncada tied the ballgame in the ninth with a one-out, opposite-field homer off Houston closer Ken Giles. The ball, which traveled a projected 374 feet according to Statcast™, was Moncada's second homer as a member of the White Sox and was just Giles' third blown save of the season in 25 attempts.
"I threw a good pitch," Giles said of the homer. "I looked at the video, right on the outside corner where I wanted it on the black. Got to tip my cap off to him. He put a good swing on it and drove it the other way. Nothing I can do. Can't really be mad about it. Good pitch, good swing. Hats off to him."
• Swept in Chicago, Astros amid rare skid
The 98.7-mph fastball that Moncada took deep was the second-hardest pitch that's been hit for a homer by a White Sox player this season. Moncada is the first White Sox rookie since Joe Crede on Aug. 27, 2002, to drive in the game-tying run in the ninth and walk it off in extra innings.
"Obviously that's big," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He ties and he wins it with a base hit there late. He did a nice job, was taking some good swings. Even when he hit the homer, it was obviously a very good at-bat."
The comeback spoiled a strong performance from Astros starter Brad Peacock, who pitched into the seventh inning for the first time since July 18. The right-hander, who now has a 3.46 ERA as a starter, relied heavily on his slider and threw it on 43 of his 93 pitches, drawing eight swings-and-misses on it. He was efficient while pitching to contact, allowing just three batted balls with exit velocities of 100 mph or more, according to Statcast™.
"I had a good slider tonight, so I just relied on it," Peacock said. "Got a couple big outs, a big strikeout there. Just felt good."
It proved to be a much-needed salve for an Astros rotation that entered Thursday ranked 26th in the Majors with a 5.76 ERA since the All-Star break. In that span, the first-place Astros are just 11-14, including losses in 10 of their past 14 games.
The Astros got their lone runs on a Jake Marisnick solo homer and Marwin Gonzalez double -- which tied him with Carlos Correa for the team lead in RBIs (67) -- but couldn't avoid being swept for just the second time this season.
Carlos Rodon was brilliant once again for the White Sox, picking up strong momentum after once again facing a top-tier opponent. Each of the last five teams he's faced -- the Dodgers, Cubs, Indians, Red Sox and now Astros -- have been in first place in their respective divisions. With Rodon allowing a pair of runs and striking out four over a career-high-tying eight innings Thursday, he's now allowed nine earned runs and struck out 35 batters over his last four starts (26 1/3 innings).
"That's the goal, is to go and attack," Rodon said. "That's the game plan, let them swing it and defense do the work. Strikeouts happen. The ball was sinking good and [catcher] Omar [Narvaez] had a good game plan, and the defense was outstanding."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Costly E-9: The White Sox got off to a great start in the 11th, as Leury Garcia singled past Jose Altuve into right field to get the rally going. Josh Reddick bobbled the ball in right field, and Garcia broke for second base after a slight hesitation and reached safely. That set the stage for Moncada.
"My mind was set to look for a fastball, because it wasn't the best pitch for them," said Moncada, who also hit a fastball for the game-tying home run. "I was ready for it."
Walking the tightrope: Astros reliever Luke Gregerson ran into some trouble up 2-1 in the eighth inning after Avisail Garcia and Nicky Delmonico reached on an infield single and an error from Astros catcher Juan Centeno, respectively, to put a pair on with no one out. Each got into scoring position, but Gregerson got out of the jam by striking out Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson and getting pinch-hitter Alen Hanson to ground out to first with the bases loaded.
"We needed to find a way to win the game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We did escape a lot of innings that they put runners on base, and this game could have easily turned our way by pushing across a couple runs. Obviously there at the end, we made some mistakes."
"We're getting beat up a little bit. We've got to figure out ourselves before we really worry about what kind of situation we're in. I think the mentality of our team is strong enough. Obviously we get a chance to get a fresh start, new series [on Friday vs. the Rangers]. These games are taking a lot out of our guys, and we're getting beat up, but we'll figure it out. We've got a good group in there and we're being tested." -- Hinch, on his team's 4-10 stretch
"My only wish is just to stay healthy and to be able to play every day and do my best on the field." -- Moncada, on whether he believes superstardom is in his future
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Delmonico's sixth-inning single made him the first White Sox player since Joe Gates in 1978-79 to reach base in each of his first nine Major League games.
Thursday marked the first time all season that a White Sox catcher had thrown out a basestealer at third base. Narvaez's throw to get Alex Bregman in the second inning snapped an 0-for-14 skid for Chicago, and left the Pirates (0-for-13) and Angels (0-for-2) as the only remaining clubs who haven't thrown out a runner at third this season.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With Narvaez on second base and one out in the seventh, Astros reliever Chris Devenski hit Garcia with a bouncing breaking ball. Houston challenged that the ball didn't graze Garcia, but the call on the field stood.
Astros:Charlie Morton (9-4, 3.78 ERA) gets the call as the 'Stros continue their road trip on Friday in Texas against the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT. The right-hander has a 3.27 ERA in two appearances vs. the Rangers.
White Sox:Reynaldo Lopez makes his debut for the South Siders in the first game of a weekend series against the Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, with a first pitch of 7:10 p.m. CT. Lopez, who is ranked the club's No. 6 prospect and No. 59 overall in the Majors by MLBPipeline.com, fanned 63 in his last 46 2/3 innings for Triple-A Charlotte.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Astros on Thursday.
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.