Gomez, Fiers power Astros past White Sox

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[July 02, 2016]  HOUSTON -- For a long while a fortuitous snap of the bat and bounce of the ball appeared to be the lone tally the red-hot Astros offense would muster against White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. But then, the resurgent Carlos Gomez delivered a little more offense for insurance.

Gomez belted a two-run home run off Gonzalez in the seventh inning to provide the Houston Astros some cushion in their 5-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Gomez cranked his fourth homer of the season with one out off Gonzalez (1-4), who had allowed just two hits through six innings. Two batters after shortstop Carlos Correa reached on an error, Gomez launched a 1-2 fastball 394 feet to supply Houston (43-37) a 3-0 lead.

"I always am myself," said Gomez, who is batting .286 with nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in the 25 games since his return from the disabled list on May 31. "No result but just have to continue. That makes you better. You have to continue to do your job. When you do this for 10 years that's because you're a pro. The only thing you can do is continue to believe in yourself and work hard."

The Astros tacked on two runs in the eighth inning when Luis Valbuena doubled to left-center field, scoring George Springer. Valbuena later scored after Colby Rasmus singled to right field. Both runs were charged to right-hander Chris Beck as Houston extended its winning streak to six game at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros have won 13 of 15 following a three-game sweep by the Texas Rangers in late May.

Also in the eighth inning, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve lifted a fly ball to center field for the second out and finished 0-for-4, ending his streak of reaching base safely at 32 consecutive games.

Houston right-hander Mike Fiers (6-3) improved to 6-2 in 12 starts at Minute Maid Park since joining the Astros last season at the trade deadline. Correa provided Fiers with a 1-0 lead with his broken-bat infield single in the fourth inning, scoring Springer with two outs.

"It was a lucky base hit. I'll take it," Correa said. "Obviously throughout the season we hit a lot of balls hard right at people so it's good to every once and a while get a hit like that. It wasn't the best at-bat but it worked out."

The White Sox (40-40) had won three of their last four road games and failed to take advantage of a strong outing from Gonzalez, who allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks in seven innings.

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"I was staying ahead and I thought that all of my pitches were pretty good," Gonzalez said. "It was just a tough one to swallow, but it's just part of the game."

Fiers' elusiveness proved crucial to his successful start, particularly given how effectively Gonzalez worked against the Astros' hot lineup.

Fiers never retired more than four consecutive batters over his six shutout innings. However, the White Sox finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position against Fiers before he departed with a one-run lead having allowed four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

"We just didn't square a lot of balls up," White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino said. "He (Fiers) pitched all right, but we definitely could have got him. We just didn't take the best of swings."

NOTES: White Sox 3B Matt Davidson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right foot suffered running the bases following an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Twins. Davidson was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte earlier Thursday. Chicago recalled INF Carlos Sanchez from Charlotte. Sanchez hit .154 with one RBI and three runs over 11 games with the White Sox earlier this season. ... Astros RHP Lance McCullers threw a bullpen Friday and remains on schedule to reclaim his spot in the rotation after missing a turn Tuesday with a blister on his right index finger. He is tentatively scheduled to start the series opener against the Mariners on Monday. ... Astros RHP Scott Feldman made the spot start for McCullers and is likely to get another opportunity to start. Feldman allowed one unearned run in five innings in a 7-1 victory over the Angels in what was his fifth start this season. "He will start again," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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