A hot month.
With the White Sox’s next 13 games coming against American League Central rivals, a winning stretch could redirect their season.
They took two out of three from the Astros over the weekend, but Sunday’s 11-7 loss at U.S. Cellular Field left disappointment in the Sox clubhouse.
“(The series) ended on a sour note for sure,” Sox center fielder Adam Eaton said. “We don’t like to lose like that. Definitely taking two out of three is a great start to the second half. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.
“That’s what we’re looking at. A hot month and everyone else kind of plays even keel and (we can) continue to have that momentum going forward.”
Starting pitcher John Danks was touched up for seven runs on 12 hits in just 42/3 innings. Danks is 0-3 with a 9.15 ERA lifetime against the Astros.
“Nothing else really to say, it sucked,” Danks said as he hung his head. “I dug us a hole. These guys fought hard to get out of it, but it sucks to set a tone like that. For whatever reason, Houston’s beat me up this year. Fortunately we’re done with them and we won the series, but it stinks to go out there with a chance to sweep and not pitch well.”
The Astros finished with 17 hits, including four off losing pitcher Daniel Webb (5-3) in a four-run seventh inning after the Sox had rallied to tie the game 7-7 in the sixth.
Matt Dominguez had three hits, including his 12th home run, to drive in four. Marwin Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs. Jose Altuve stroked a two-run homer.
“I had to lean on the changeup more than normal just because I couldn’t throw either breaking ball very effectively,” said Danks, who threw 78 pitches.
Sox manager Robin Ventura saw a missed opportunity for his team to sweep the series in front of 26,256 fans.
“You had a chance, but you didn’t get it done,” Ventura said. “Two out of three to start it off (after the All-Star break), we’ll take it.”
The Sox are five games under .500 and looking up at the Tigers, Indians and Royals. They open a three-game series against the Royals on Monday night with All-Star Chris Sale facing Jeremy Guthrie.
“Every game … we’ve got to win all the games we can,” Danks said. “We’ve dug a little hole in the first half. There’s plenty of baseball left, but we’ve got to get on a roll. We’ve got the right guy going (Monday) night.”
Jarred Cosart started for the Astros and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings. And the Sox attacked the Astros bullpen in the sixth inning for three runs to tie it 7-7. Second baseman Altuve committed Houston’s third error of the game, allowing the tying run to score.
But Webb gave up back-to-back doubles to Dominguez and Jon Singleton in the seventh to put the visitors ahead for good.
Now the Sox must focus on trying to make up some ground in the division with head-to-head competition.
“(These games) are very important and we see it as such, especially when you are playing with guys ahead of you,” Eaton said. “We will continue to battle day in and day out and take the same approach as we did today and yesterday and the day before. You know, good pitching and timely hitting.”