Bo Porter talks about the Astros' 4-3 win
Getting quality starts out of its starting pitching is starting to be routine for Houston. What hasn’t been the norm is Jason Castro hitting a home run off a left-handed pitcher.
On Saturday at Minute Maid Park, the Astros held off the White Sox 4-3 to give Lucas Harrell the win.
Castro and Chris Carter hit fourth-inning home runs for Houston, which won its third straight game and has won 15 of its last 29 games. Castro’s ninth homer of the season was his 17th of his career and his first hit off a left-hander. Castro and Carter both homered off Chicago starter John Danks.
The Astros won the game in an unusual manner. Closer Jose Veras picked off pinch runner Jordan Danks at second base to end the game.
Adam Dunn homered in Chicago’s two-run seventh inning, for his 18th of the season.
Harrell was on the money through six innings, allowing only one run. The White Sox got to him in the seventh, scoring two runs with four of his seven hits allowed coming in the inning. He allowed three runs and one walk with a season-high seven strikeouts.
At one point, Harrell retired 11 straight batters, retiring the side from innings two to four. He had five strikeouts through four innings and had matched his season high of six strikeouts by the fifth inning.
In his previous outing, Harrell tossed seven shutout innings at Kansas City in a no-decision.
Danks allowed two home runs and four runs in his six innings. He had five strikeouts and one walk.
Veras pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get his 13th save. He struck out two and ended the game by picking off Jordan Danks at second base.
Paul Clemens came through in the clutch. Clemens relieved Harrell with two outs in the seventh inning with runners at first and third and the Astros ahead 4-3. Clemens got Alejandro De Aza to strike out on a 79-mph curveball.
Wesley Wright got a big out in the eighth inning when he induced Dunn to ground out to first base for the second out and the tying run at second base.
And Hector Ambriz delivered. Ambriz came in with runners at first and third in the eighth inning and got pinch hitter, and former Astro, Jeff Keppinger to ground out to short to end the inning with Houston leading 4-3.
At the plate
Four of the Astros’ five hits through five innings were extra-base hits.
In a span of three batters, the Astros connected on two home runs in the fourth inning off Danks. Castro led off the inning with his ninth home run, a blast to right-center that landed in the Astros’ bullpen. Two batters later Carter hit his team-leading 14th home run to left field, giving the Astros a 3-1 lead.
For Castro, it was his first home run in his career against a left-handed pitcher. He has 16 homers off righties.
Ronny Cedeno’s double to left-center scored Carlos Pena to tie the game 1-1 in the second inning off Danks.
Before Saturday’s game, Astros manager Bo Porter was marveling about the home run ability, and power, of Dunn, a product of New Caney High School just north of Houston. Dunn led off the seventh inning with a solo shot to left field. It was Dunn’s 424th of his career.
In the field
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve saved the tying run from scoring by gloving a single by Tyler Flowers, holding Gordon Beckham at third base in a 4-3 game in the seventh inning. Earlier in the game, Altuve made a running catch off a ball hit by Tyler Flowers for the third out to end of the second inning.
Ronny Cedeno started a 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth inning with the Astros holding a 3-1 lead.
The line of starting left-handed pitching for Chicago continues on Sunday for Game 3 of the series. Houston will start a left-hander too in Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 4.37 ERA) against Hector Santiago (2-4, 3.12 ERA).
In his last appearance, Keuchel took the loss despite giving up only two runs (one earned) over six innings in a 3-2 loss to Seattle. The Astros are 4-3 in Keuchel’s seven starts.
In Monday’s series finale, RHP Bud Norris (5-6, 3.47 ERA) opposes LHP Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.86 ERA) of Chicago.