Adam Engel started the seventh inning with a single to center off a broken bat. He accounted for the Chicago White Sox’s tying run against the Houston Astros.
Did the Sox have another comeback in them?
Romy González grounded out to shortstop Jeremy Peña, and the Astros got a forced out at second. AJ Pollock’s hard-hitting grounder up the middle turned into a revealing double play that ended the inning started by second baseman José Altuve.
There would be no magic in the late game for the third night in a row for the Red Sox, who fell 3-2 in front of 24,671.
“(We) got up late innings there with chances again,” Engel said. “The law of averages says you’re not going to capitalize every time, but I felt like we did.”
The Red Sox saw their winning streak end at five and fell two games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central.
Yoán Moncada had the go-ahead hit in both games. He found himself in another important place on Wednesday.
Eloy Jimenez walked with one out in the eighth. He was picked up by pinch runner Luis Robert. José Abreu hit a single to the glove of a Peña in a dive.
That brought Moncada to the plate with runners on first and second. He went ahead in the account 2-1. But reliever Ryne Stanek fought back and struck him out looking, painting the outside corner for strike three.
Yasmani Grandal worked a 3-1 count but flied out catcher Martin Maldonado into foul territory.
“We had (Moncada) up to the plate again, he’s been doing it for us the last two nights,” Engel said. “I felt very good with that place. Obviously we didn’t make it (Wednesday), but I felt like we played really good baseball and we took a chance and we just didn’t make it back.”
The White Sox outhit the Astros 8-5 but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and had three double plays.
“The difference was (the Astros’) defense,” Red Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “We hit a lot of balls hard. They turned them into outs, sometimes into double plays. We made better contact than two races.”
Michael Kopech, who came out after six hitless innings in his last start on Friday against the Detroit Tigerskept the Sox in Wednesday’s game, allowing three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in six innings.
“A team like (the Astros), we know what they’re capable of, so three runs tends to be too much like it was (Wednesday),” Kopech said. “I made some mistakes that I think could have been avoided and could have limited those three races to less than that. But I can’t turn back the clock.”
Kopech pointed to a four-pitch walk to Altuve early in the game as an important point. Altuve stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly.
“That four-pitch walk to open the game and back-to-back stolen bases ended up making the difference,” Kopech said. “Unfortunately, you don’t want to see someone in the first inning who makes a difference in the game, but that’s what happened and I take responsibility for that.”
The Astros scored twice in the top of the fourth and the Sox responded with two in the bottom of the inning.
Moncada drove in a run with a double. The Sox loaded the bases with no outs, but Josh Harrison grounded out for a double play. One run scored and Moncada moved to third. Astros starter Framber Valdez struck out Engel looking to end the inning.
“Obviously in the fourth inning we were looking for more than two there,” La Russa said. “Look back at how that game was played and some of the plays they made on defense. They were the ones who made the difference. I think we competed very well against Valdez.”
Valdez allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks in seven innings as the Astros slow down the momentum the Red Sox have recently built.
“We have been fighting,” Kopech said. “That lasts us a long time. What we did in the last five before (Wednesday) was impressive, and staying in there with them and keeping the game close, I think we played hard. As long as we can keep doing that, I think we’re in a good place.” place”.