The Chicago White Sox started the second half of the season right, edging the Houston Astros 3-2 at US Cellular Field. The go-ahead run came courtesy of an RBI double off the bat of Tyler Flowers in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jose Quintana struck out eight, earning a no-decision, while Daniel Webb earned his fifth win of the year in relief.
Dayan Viciedo’s error in right field contributed to the Astros two runs, but he atoned for that mistake by belting his twelfth home run of the year, a two-run job, to tie the game at two in the sixth. The Astros scored both runs and accumulated all three hits off Quintana in the top of the 2nd inning. After a lead-off single by Matt Dominguez, a hard hit single by Jon Singleton turned into an RBI triple when Dayan Viciedo was unable to cut the ball off, giving Dominguez ample time to score. Singleton headed into third base on the error by Viciedo and scored the next at-bat on a sacrifice by Robbie Grossman.
Astros’ starter, Scott Feldman, pitched well for much of the night and looked like he was on his way to winning his fifth game of the year. That all changed, however, when Viciedo, with a man on first, put his bat on a hanging breaking ball and sent it into the centerfield stands. The next inning Tyler Flowers proved to be the difference maker when he drove a 3-1 pitch into left center, scoring Alejandro De Aza, who had singled and stolen second.
Surprisingly, the White Sox made it look easy after that. Ronald Bellisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Zach Putnam earned his second save, pitching a perfect ninth. Overall, the White Sox three relievers combined for a perfect four innings of work. The lack of late inning drama as a result of Chicago’s bullpen was, no doubt, a welcomed change for the team and its fans.
Tomorrow the White Sox send Hector Noesi to the mound opposite Houston Astros’ starter, Dallas Kuechel. Noesi finished the first half of the year with a 5.26 ERA to go along with a 3-7 record, while Kuechel owns a 9-5 record with a 3.20 ERA, according to SI.com. Noesi may feel a sense of urgency to perform, given the White Sox recent signing of Chien-Ming Wang, who was assigned to the Charlotte Knights on Thursday.
While the trade deadline has been, and continues to be, an interesting saga, winning games remains the team’s primary concern. Friday night’s game was a positive display that will hopefully help set the tone for the team’s second half of the year. As our good friend “Hawk” Harrelson always says, “Don’t stop now boys, don’t stop now!”
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