White Sox bounce back late, stun Astros with eighth-inning rally
Feeling good about themselves after sweeping a terrible Tigers team in a three-game weekend series, the White Sox took a significant step up in class Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Astros are in town for a four-game set on the South Side, giving the Sox a much better measuring stick as they try tracking down Cleveland and Minnesota in the AL Central.
"We're playing a very good team," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "Their record is well-earned, they're a complete club. The competition is as good as it gets."
For the first seven innings of the game, starting pitcher Johnny Cueto seemed to be the only one competing for the Sox.
"He has been very big for us," Yoan Moncada said through a translator. "Every outing, he has given us a chance to win. We haven't been able to support him in every one of his outings, but today was one where we were able to come back."
The White Sox's offense scratched out only five singles before finally coming alive in the eighth inning, rallying to beat Houston 4-2.
The Astros still have the best record in the American League at 75-42. The White Sox are 60-56 after winning their fourth straight.
"They are very good," Eloy Jimenez said of the Astros, who bounced the Sox out of the playoffs last year. "But we are going to compete no matter what."
Trailing 2-0 with two outs in the eighth inning, the White Sox rallied for 4 runs to stun Houston.
Jimenez tied the game with a 2-run double and Moncada decided the outcome with a 2-run single.
"Just a lot of tough at-bats," La Russa said. "We're capable of that."
Jimenez hit an 0-2 fastball into the left-field corner pull the Sox into a 2-2 tie.
"It was a good pitch to hit," the left fielder said. "Thank God I was able to keep that ball fair."
With the bases loaded, Moncada hit Houston reliever Rafael Montero's first pitch into center field.
"I went up there just looking for a fastball," Moncada said. "I wasn't looking for anything else, just fastball. He threw me a fastball and I was able to put the bat on the ball. I feel good.
"We were able to keep our focus and the eighth inning, that was a big inning for us. The game doesn't end until it ends. We kept battling and kept chipping away until the eighth inning."
After giving up 2 runs (1 earned) in the first inning, Cueto battled the rest of the way and wound up going 8 innings.
"He's very special," La Russa said after Cueto lowered his ERA to 2.78. "He's just really smart, very competitive and he's got an arsenal, command of 2 to 4 pitches from different angles. All that factors into how tough he is."