HOUSTON (AP) Kyle Tucker hit a pair of run-scoring singles and Yordan Alvarez had three hits to lead the Houston Astros over Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Saturday.
Chicago’s Seby Zavala, who played baseball for San Diego State from 2012-15, hit a two-run homer a few hours before the Aztecs played Florida Atlantic in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
Houston’s David Hensley, a San Diego State baseball player from 2015-18, went 0 for 4. With the score 3-3 in the seventh, Alvarez and José Abreu hit consecutive two-out singles off Joe Kelly (0-1) and Tucker greeted José Ruiz with a go-ahead single. Alvarez and Abreu hit consecutive RBI singles in the eighth for a 6-3 lead.
“We have been having a lot of two-out knocks,” Chas McCormick said. “We have a competitive lineup. Top of the order puts up some good at bats. It makes it easier for the guys in the bottom of the order because it tires out the pitcher. Our bottom of the order puts up good at bats, too, so it’s big.”
Houston outhit the White Sox 11-10 as the Astros went 6 for 19 with runners in scoring position during a game that took 3 hours, 11 minutes. The White Sox were 2 for 9 RISP.
Houston manager Dusty Baker credited some of the Astros’ hits to restrictions on the shift.
“That was a prime example of where the shift has helped the offense,” Baker said. “Especially, like I said in spring training, it’s going to help the left-handed hitters. It helped Tucker. It helped Yordan twice. Thank God for that, that they changed the rules.”
Tucker said he said thought the shirt limit had helped him.
“We’ll see how it plays out the rest of the series and rest of the season,” Tucker said. “I probably got a hit off it today, and there’s probably one or two other ones, but it worked out for us.”
Héctor Neris relieved Ryne Stanek (1-0) with two on in the eighth, and Neris struck out Elvis Andrus to end the inning.
Andrus remained at 1,999 hits.
Eloy Jiménez hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth, but Neris struck out Yoán Moncada for his first save this season.
“I like the way we played,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “Obviously, the outcome is not what we want, but I like the way we played. If we play like that, we’re going to be alright. I like the way we pitched, it just comes down to, the ball bounced in their direction today really.”
Tucker and McCormick hit back-to-back RBI singles in the first off Lucas Giolito, who allowed three runs - two earned- and five hits in five innings with six strikeouts. He was charged a ball for a pitch timer violation in the first inning while facing Tucker.
José Urquidy gave up three runs and seven hits in four innings.
Moncada homered in the second, and Zavala’s home run in the fourth put Chicago ahead 3-2. Jeremy Peña tied the score with an RBI double in the bottom half.
NICE CATCH Luis Robert Jr robbed Tucker of extra bases in the third, jumping up against the right-center field fence in front of Houston’s bullpen and snagging the ball.
MORE AWARD CEREMONIES
After receiving their 2022 World Series rings on Friday night, Jose Altuve and Alvarez were presented Silver Slugger Awards before the game. Peña and Tucker received Gold Gloves.
Astros: LHP Blake Taylor (left elbow strain) threw two-thirds scoreless innings in relief Friday night for Triple-A Sugar Land at El Paso in his first game of a rehabilitation assignment. … RHP Ryan Pressly was not available to pitch Saturday due to illness, Baker said.
The four-game series concludes on Sunday with Houston RHP Luis Garcia and Chicago RHP Mike Clevinger on the mound. ---
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