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White Sox 3, Astros 1: Bullpen holds up after Carson Fulmer’s early exit

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Chris Volstad picks up first win in more than five years

Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros
A Chris Volstad photo!
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

This game was a slog for everybody.

Carson Fulmer spent the first inning working at a crawl, which we soon found out was due to a blister that limited him to just three batters — a groundout and two walks.

That forced Rick Renteria to try to stay competitive while covering 8 13 innings from a depleted bullpen.

Dallas Keuchel didn’t have such physical issues, but he didn’t have his good stuff either, especially early. He faced based-loaded situations in the second and third innings.

The White Sox offense couldn’t exactly find a higher gear, either. Keuchel forced the first run home with a walk, but came back to strike out Adam Engel and Tim Anderson to end the second. In the third, he loaded the bases with a walk, double and walk, but minimized the damage with a double play.

And yet despite the maximum vulnerability on the pitching side and the wasted opportunities at the plate ... the White Sox still won. As a result, they avoided a sweep and took the season series against Houston.

Credit Chris Volstad for putting this game on a viable course. He entered the game for Fulmer, stranded his runners with a double play, then carried the game into the fifth/ He allowed only a Brian McCann solo shot and two other hits over 4 13 innings, and picked up his first win since 2012 for his efforts.

He also allowed the only three hits the White Sox allowed. Sox pitchers issued six walks, including four by the relievers after Volstad left, but Mike Pelfrey (1 13 innings), Aaron Bummer (two batters, two strikeouts) and Danny Farquhar (1-2-3 eighth) all stood out for jobs well done. That set the stage for Juan Minaya, who recorded his fifth save after building the usual tension with a couple of walks. Yoan Moncada made a sliding stop on a Carlos Beltran grounder to end the game.

Tim Anderson made the ninth a little easier to watch, as he took Francis Martes deep after getting a full-count fastball to his liking. He crushed it out to center for his 17th homer.

Bullet points:

*Jose Abreu picked up his 40th double of the season by sliding and diving around Jose Altuve after the throw beat him to second.

*Matt Davidson was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms one game after Avisail Garcia departed a game with stomach issues.

Record: 61-91 | Box score