With a four-game losing streak and a potential sweep on the line, the White Sox had the right guy on the mound, and Chris Sale lived up to the billing.
Sale turned in another masterful performance, throwing his second straight complete game in fairly easy fashion. He needed just 107 pitches, a whopping 80 of which were strikes. He didn't walk anybody while striking out nine, limiting the Astros to four hits on the evening.
One of them did count -- an Evan Gattis solo homer on the first pitch of the eighth inning. It wasn't a bad pitch -- a two-seam fastball on the outside corner at the knees, but Gattis must have been looking for it. He reached over the plate and swatted it out to left center to draw blood.
Fortunately, the Sox had found a way to scratch across the second run the inning before. Collin McHugh was almost as tough through six innings, using his high-fastball/curve combination to hold the Sox to a Jerry Sands RBI single in the second inning (although George Springer did steal a homer away from Jose Abreu in the first).
McHugh had just killed a key scoring threat, too. Adam Eaton led off with a triple that fooled center fielder Jake Marisnick, but neither Carlos Sanchez (shallow flyout) nor Abreu (strikeout) nor Todd Frazier (flyout) could drive him in.
Jimmy Rollins hit a spinning infield single to the unoccupied left side with one out in the seventh, though, and that little hit loomed large. He stole second, moved to third on Sands' single, thens cored on Alex Avila's sac fly to left to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. The Astros cut it in half, but that's all Sale allowed.
*Rollins followed up his stolen base with a nice ranging play to get the speedy Tony Kemp to end the eighth.
*McHugh held the Sox to five hits, and Sands, sitting in for Avisail Garcia, collected two of them, both important.
*At 2 hours and 11 minutes, this was the fastest White Sox game of the year by 12 minutes.