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White Sox 4, Astros 1: Power surge

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Chicago sweeps Houston as three home runs back a strong start by Jose Quintana

Jon Durr/Getty Images

Having scored just 26 runs in his previous 12 starts, the Chicago White Sox provided some much needed muscle to back starting pitcher Jose Quintana. Home runs by Adam LaRoche, Geovany Soto, and Jose Abreu powered the Sox to a 4-1 victory and a sweep of the Astros.

The first five innings had a very similar feel to previous Quintana starts: offense not capitalizing on scoring opportunities, poor base running, atrocious defense. Yet Quintana found a way to keep Chicago in the game by allowing only one run.

That run was scored in the second inning, when a Chris Carter grounder down the third-base line hit the bag and skipped over Conor Gillaspie. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, Carter scored on a Jake Marisnick sacrifice fly to give the Astros the 1-0 lead.

Houston would threaten in the third inning, after rookie Carlos Correa doubled to right field. After walking Carter, Quintana managed to get out of that scoring threat by striking out Jason Castro on three pitches.

In the fifth, Correa found himself in scoring position again after an Emilio Bonfacio throwing error. Quintana managed to overcome that mistake by getting Carter to pop out on the next pitch. That turned out to be the Astros' last threat to score, as Quintana finished his night with seven strong innings, allowing the one run while striking out three, walking two and scattering six hits.

The offense for the White Sox was ... an adventure.

Ventura gave the night off to Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez, which meant that J.B. Shuck filled the leadoff hitter role with Bonifacio hitting second. Shuck performed well in his role with a double in the first, a single in the third and a walk in the seventh. Bonifacio, on the other hand, went 0-for-3 to drop his batting average to .177. He also committed a pair of throwing errors for good measure.

Avisail Garcia walked twice for the first time in 2015. In both instances he was erased trying to steal second base. In his defense, he looked safe with the first attempt, as it appeared he reached the bag before Correa applied the tag. New York called him safe which prompted Hawk Harrelson to banter how Major League Baseball should start using an independent agency separate of the umpires to review plays. Shuck chipped in a CS in the seventh inning, making the White Sox 0-for-3 in steal attempts for the game and 19-for-37 on the season.

Part of the difficulties for the Sox offense was going up against rookie Vincent Velasquez. A second-round pick in 2010, the 23-year-old did well in his major league debut, pitching five scoreless innings. As expected, control was a bit of an issue, as he walked four batters. The wildness worked for him, as he allowed just three hits and struck out five, including a strikeout of Jose Abreu on a 96-mph dart.

Velasquez got the Quintana treatment for his efforts -- a no-decision -- thanks to the Astros bullpen. Adam LaRoche hit this bomb in the sixth to tie the game.

Geovany Soto hit his third home run of 2015 leading off the seventh to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. Abreu hit his two-run blast in the eighth for his 11th home run, making it the first time he hit dingers in back-to-back games since April 21-22 against Cleveland.

Notes:

  • What a series for the Sox starting pitching. The trio of Chris Sale, Carlos Rodon, and Quintana combined for 21 innings, 22 strikeouts and only 2 runs allowed.
  • George Springer had five of Houston's seven hits.
  • To balance out Bonifacio's throwing errors, Melky Cabrera and Garcia made two sensational catches to rob extra base hits.
  • Houston has lost seven straight.
  • White Sox are not in last place.
Record: 28-30 | BoxPlay-by-Pla