Two straight eighth-inning comebacks against the Houston Astros have helped the Chicago White Sox climb within one game of the American League Central lead.
On Wednesday night, the resurgent White Sox hope to keep rising as they continue their four-game series with the visiting Astros.
Yoan Moncada delivered a late, go-ahead RBI single for the second straight night Tuesday, and defending division champ Chicago held on for a 4-3 victory. It was the club’s fifth straight win overall and seventh in a row at home.
“It’s guys rallying around each other … just pulling for each other and picking each other up,” Chicago’s Gavin Sheets said.
After scoring 15 runs in their past three games entering Tuesday, the White Sox navigated early struggles to break through against Houston ace Justin Verlander and the bullpen.
Chicago collected four hits against Verlander in the second inning, yet had only one run to show for it.
Naturally, the White Sox aimed to score more in that scenario, but the team is working to be resilient while hoping more power comes. The White Sox have a mere 101 home runs this season, firmly in the bottom third of the majors.
Jose Abreu (14), Andrew Vaughn (13) and Luis Robert (12), who remains day-to-day with left-wrist discomfort, are the only Chicago players with double-digit homers this season.
“The biggest thing is (to) be a hitter first,” Vaughn said. “We got some boppers on this team. If I get on base, they can drive me in. If they get on base, I can drive them in, staying simple and staying with my stuff.
“Being a hitter, the power comes. This game is about the homer now, but we just have to string stuff together and get wins no matter how we can.”
Chicago right-hander Michael Kopech (4-8, 3.18 ERA) is set to oppose Houston lefty Framber Valdez (11-4, 2.73) on Wednesday.
Kopech is seeking his first victory since July 26. He is coming off Friday’s no-decision against Detroit, when he delivered six innings of no-hit ball with three walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts.
In two career appearances against the Astros, including one start on June 19, Kopech is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA and two home runs allowed in six innings.
Valdez, who defeated the visiting White Sox on June 17, is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA in four career appearances against Chicago, including three starts.
Valdez on Thursday earned the victory with seven shutout innings against the Texas Rangers, spacing four hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.
Should Valdez deliver a quality start against the White Sox, he will tie Mike Scott’s franchise record of 20 in a row, established in 1986.
“I feel proud of it,” Valdez said. “This is something that’s (close to) a record for the team, a record for me, as well. It’s something that, I think, just shows the fruits of my labor, the fruits of all my dedication and all the work I’ve put in.”
Houston manager Dusty Baker said Aledmys Diaz might be headed to the injured list. Diaz left Tuesday’s game after experiencing groin discomfort upon making a running catch in left field.