The Chicago White Sox were in yet another tight battle with the Houston Astros on Wednesday night, but ultimately lost the contest 3-2. Astros’ southpaw Framber Valdez delivered his eye-popping 20th consecutive quality start, tossing seven innings of two-run ball in earning the victory. Valdez outdueled the White Sox’ young fireballer Michael Kopech, who submitted a quality start himself. While only striking out two Astros, he fought through six frames, surrendering three earned runs on five hits and two walks.
Chicago trailed the entire ball game, as Houston jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning behind the legs of Jose Altuve. His leadoff walk and thefts of both second and third base turned into a sacrifice fly from Yordan Alvarez and an early advantage. Then, in the top of the 4th inning, a Kyle Tucker double placed two men in scoring position (Alvarez and Tucker) to setup another scoring opportunity. Those two would come around to score on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly and a Chas McCormick double, respectively.
While the South Siders made another comeback attempt on the back of another big Yoán Moncada RBI (double), they couldn’t pull it off tonight. The bottom of the 4th inning represented their best chance at getting to Valdez. After the aforementioned Moncada double cut the deficit to two and a Yasmani Grandal walk loaded the bases, the Sox had a legitimate chance at tying the game or taking the lead. However, a Josh Harrison double-play (scored Abreu) and an Adam Engel strikeout quickly extinguished that notion. After that, the Sox couldn’t get any other runs across the plate as Valdez and the Astros bullpen blanked the Sox’ bats the rest of the way.
With tonight’s loss, the Sox fall to 61-57 and are now two games behind the American League Central-leading Cleveland Guardians.
W: Framber Valdez (12-4, 2.72 ERA) | L: Michael Kopech (4-9, 3.25 ERA) | SV: Ryan Pressly (24)
White Sox Scoring Recap:
Josh Harrison grounds out to shortstop. Yasmani Grandal out at second. Yoán Moncada to third. José Abreu scores. HOU 3- CWS 2.
Michael Kopech: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 ER, 2 K
Coming off arguably the best Sox pitching performance of the season, Kopech wasn’t at his sharpest tonight. His fastball command was shaky from the get-go, and his slider wasn’t necessarily the wipeout pitch that we’ve seen at times this year. He led off the game by walking Jose Altuve, who would go on to steal both second and third on his way to scoring the first run of the ball game. With all that being said, Kopech battled through six frames and provided a quality start in tonight’s solid effort.
José Abreu: 2-for-3, 2 1B, BB, R
Abreu reached base in three out of his four plate appearances, though his extra-base hit and RBI production this month seem to be well below his normal August standards. He’s collected only one RBI in his last 13 games, and only three extra-base hits all month.
Eloy Jiménez: 1-for-2, 1B, 2 BB, R
Eloy also reached base in three out of his four plate appearances tonight, and it was nice to see the solid plate discipline lead to two walks. He’s been blistering hot as of late, with a .500 slugging percentage in the month of August (entering tonight’s game). The team will continue to depend on him having solid at-bats down the stretch.
The White Sox and Astros’ four-game series will culminate Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. The game is scheduled for 1:10 PM CST and will feature a matchup between Chicago’s big right-hander Lucas Giolito and Houston’s Luis Garcia.
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