Monday, July 21, 2014
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Astros outslug White Sox in salvage series finale

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[July 21, 2014]  CHICAGO -- Houston finally strung together some key hits against the Chicago White Sox, and the Astros needed all of them in the finale of a three-game series Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Astros pounded out 17 hits, had three big rallies and still had to sweat it out in the late stages of an 11-7 win that prevented a White Sox sweep.

After two sixth-inning errors and a shaky bullpen contributed to a blown four-run lead, Houston (41-58) answered in the seventh with four runs on four hits against right-hander Daniel Webb (5-3).

"That right there speaks to the character of the guys in this clubhouse," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "You know, we've been faced with adversity throughout the course of the year, and one thing I can say about these guys is they're going to continue to fight. They're going to play the game hard each and every day, and today was a great example of them responding to an adverse situation."

The Astros got seventh-inning doubles from designated hitter Chris Carter, third baseman Matt Dominguez and left fielder L.J. Hoes. Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez (3-for-4) also drove in two with a two-out single to center field to provide a four-run cushion.

Left-hander Tony Sipp (2-1) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win, and right-hander Chad Qualls retired the Sox in order in the ninth. Dominguez led the way offensively, going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and four RBIs, but the top members of Houston's batting order all had big games.

The first four hitters -- second baseman Jose Altuve, center fielder Enrique Hernandez, Carter and Dominguez -- combined to go 9-for-18 with seven RBIs and seven runs.

"We battled through that game," Dominguez said. "The seventh, we were able to come through, (Carter) with that leadoff double. (I was) able to knock him in and kind of build on that inning, so it was nice to go out there and get a win like that."

White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu went 2-for-5 with an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to 11 straight games.

Chicago also got 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief from right-hander Taylor Thompson, who made his major league debut after having his contract at Triple-A Charlotte purchased Sunday morning.

Both starters got no-decisions in forgettable outings.

Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks in five innings. White Sox left-hander John Danks lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He allowed seven runs on 12 hits, including home runs by Altuve in the third and Dominguez in the fifth.

It was Danks' worst outing at home this season after he entered the game 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA in nine previous starts at U.S. Cellular Field. He also posted seven quality starts in his previous nine outings overall.

"Nothing else really to say, it (stunk)," Danks said. "I dug us a hole. These guys fought hard to get out of it, but it (stinks) to set a tone like that."

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It wasn't the first time Houston beat up on Danks this season or in his career. The Astros also knocked him out early May 18 in Houston, when he took the loss after going just 4 2/3 innings and allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits, including three home runs.

Danks is 0-2 with a 14.00 ERA in those two outings combined, yielding 22 hits and five homers.

"For whatever reason, Houston's beat me up this year," he said. "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 took a 1-0 lead in the first by manufacturing a run, then pushed the lead to 4-0 in the third on four hits, including Altuve's two-run homer.

Chicago clawed back by scoring once in the third and twice in the fourth to make it 4-3, but Houston countered with three more in the fifth for a 7-3 lead. Once again, the White Sox pecked away until they tied it 7-7 in the sixth.

After plating a run in the fifth, the White Sox added three more in sixth on three hits and two errors, including a routine grounder that went through Altuve's legs to score Abreu from second with the tying run.

NOTES: Prior to the game, the White Sox purchased the contract of RHP Taylor Thompson from Triple-A Charlotte. Thompson, 27, took the place of rookie INF Carlos Sanchez, who was optioned to Charlotte following the game Saturday night. To make room on the 40-man roster for Thompson, the White Sox transferred RHP Felipe Paulino (rotator cuff) to the 60-day disabled list. ... Astros CF George Springer sat out due to continuing soreness in his right knee and quadriceps muscle. Manager Bo Porter hopes the day off, combined with a scheduled day off for the team Monday, will help Springer heal. UT Enrique Hernandez started in center and went 2-for-5. ... Houston also scratched INF Jesus Guzman from a scheduled start at first base due to a sore back. He was replaced by Jon Singleton, who went 1-for-5.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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