The first of (at least) 15 days without Jose Abreu was an appropriately miserable one. John Danks saw to it by giving up three homers without completing five innings, but really, nobody looked good. OK, maybe Adrian Nieto, but even his perfect day at the plate was tarnished by an error.
Once again, a White Sox starter put his team in a hole. Danks got out of the first unscathed with the help of a brilliant pickoff move -- with runners on first and second and one out, Paul Konerko snuck behind rookie George Springer, and Danks caught him napping.
He didn't have any other tricks up his sleeve, though, and the Astros punished him. Chris Carter crushed a batting-practice fastball literally out of the park to start the second. They tacked on three more -- two on a Jonathan Villar single, and then Villar scored thanks to sloppy White Sox defense. Alejandro De Aza prepared to throw home before getting his glove on the single and gave up an extra base. Villar then stole third and trotted home when Nieto's throw sailed into left field.
Just like that, the Astros had a 4-0 lead. And after the Sox got on the board with Nieto's RBI single in the third, Danks gave it right back by allowing a double and a two-run homer to Matt Dominguez -- the first of two two-run homers on the day for the Houston third baseman. Robin Ventura tried to get five innings out of Danks, but he had to pull the plug at 107 pitches with two outs in the fifth. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and three walks. He struck out seven, somehow.
All the while, the offense sputtered against Brad Peacock, even though he had problems with control. The Sox had their best chance to post a crooked number when Adam Eaton followed Nieto's RBI single with a base hit of his own, loading the bases with nobody out. But Gordon Beckham chased a slider out of the zone and tapped into a 1-2-3 double play, and Conor Gillaspie hit a flyout to center to end the inning.
After that, the Sox couldn't string together baserunners until two outs in the seventh inning. Peacock walked Alexei Ramirez and De Aza back to back, and Nieto doubled in Ramirez. He went 3-for-3 with two RBI, and is now hitting .324 on the season. So there's that.