HOUSTON – There would be no quiet bats early on or struggles from the starter in this second game of the playoffs for the White Sox.
The team was toe-to-toe with the Astros from the majority of the afternoon at Minute Maid Park, which was different from Game 1 where Tony La Russa’s team played from behind the entire game. Yet in the end, it was another decisive victory, for the bad times for the White Sox came in the final third of Game 2.
A five-run seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie as Houston took advantage of a misplayed ball in right field by Leury Garcia to strike for five runs. That was enough for the Astros to pick up a 9-4 victory and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
As the White Sox return home for their first home playoff game in 13 years at 7:07 PM on Sunday, they’ll be facing elimination and in need of three-straight wins to qualify for the ALCS.
The reason the team faces a “win-or-go-home” situation is because of that seventh inning, where a competitive game got away. Aaron Bummer allowed three hits to start the inning while getting just one out, the last by Yordan Alvarez giving Houston a 5-4 lead.
Craig Kimbrel then was brought in to prevent further damage and got an out to start, but then gave up a long fly to right by Carlos Correa. Garcia, who moved from second base to replace Adam Engel at the start of the inning, misplayed the ball and it went over his head, allowing two runs to score to make it 7-4.
Kyle Tucker followed that with a two-run homer to right field, the sixth given up by Kimbrel since joining the White Sox at the trade deadline.
While the seventh produced a lopsided score, the contest was entertainingly tight up until that point, with the White Sox getting the lead on a Eloy Jimenez ground out in the first. Houston got two in the second on starter Lucas Giolito in the second but held down the Astros till the fifth, when the White Sox offense had their run.
RBI singles by Luis Robert then Jose Abreu was followed by a sacrifice fly from Yasmani Grandal to put the White Sox up 4-2. In the bottom half of the inning, however, Giolito walked two batters and was lifted with one out. Garrett Crochet would then walk Alvarez to load the bases then surrendered a hit to Yuli Gurriel that tied the game.