Dallas Keuchel entered today's game with a 6-1 record and a 1.98 ERA, so it would've been great if the White Sox had all hands on deck.
With the way Keuchel pitched, though, maybe a 100-percent Jose Abreu wouldn't have made a difference.
Keuchel went the distance, striking out a career-high 11 while limiting the Sox to just four measly singles. Even two Houston errors didn't knock him off his game.
It was a combination of great pitching and a scuffling lineup, illustrated best by the Sox' only real threat of the game in the third inning. Geovany Soto led off with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball, then took third on a productive grounder by Carlos Sanchez.
That gave the Sox two chances to score Soto. Adam Eaton couldn't do it, as Keuchel pounded and expanded the strike zone on the outside corner until Eaton swung over a slider for strike three. Then came Emilio Bonifacio -- replacing Abreu and his swollen finger in the lineup -- whose game plan against Keuchel was "flail wildly." He'd struck out the first time on three pitches without seeing a strike, and this time he did the same, but on five pitches.
Those were the only three at-bats with runners in scoring position. The other runners never got past first, and attempts to forcing the issue failed with a flourish (two hit-and-runs led to the runners getting doubled off).
With the offense scoring zero runs, you can bet that Jose Quintana was on the mound. Sure enough, all he had to show for a respectable effort was another loss, which dropped his record to 2-6. He allowed just one run over 6⅓ innings, although the Astros at least made him throw a lot of pitches after he mowed down the first eight with ease.
He gave up his only run in the fourth. Preston Tucker led off with a soft line drive single, then went from first to third on Evan Gattis' inside-out single. Gattis did Quintana a favor by straying too far off first at the time Alexei Ramirez cut off the throw, and he was tagged out by Adam LaRoche after a one-throw rundown.
Quintana then walked Chris Carter on six pitches, which at least set up the possibility of a double play, but Jonathan Villar hit a fly deep enough to left to score Tucker, despite Melky Cabrera's best effort.
That was the only run allowed by Quintana, and it was enough for the "L." Dan Jennings gave up back-to-back homers to Gattis and Carter in the eighth inning, but with Keuchel pitching, that felt more "unnecessary" than "insurance."
*Avisail Garcia returned to the starting lineup and right field, and he played the whole game, going 1-for-4 right a smoked single to right.
*At least the defense showed up: Gordon Beckham saved Quintana a run with a diving stab and throw to end the third inning, and Cabrera cut down another trailing runner on a single to end the fifth.