The White Sox were already trailing the Astros 5-4 when Tony La Russa brought in Craig Kimbrel to get out of the seventh inning, but the former Cubs’ closer couldn’t shut the door and Houston broke the game wide open with a pair of big hits. Chicago’s bullpen simply could not contain Houston’s offense in the late innings, leading to a 9-4 win and 2-0 series edge.

The big blows against the White Sox came with two outs in the seventh inning as Carlos Correa hit a line drive over the head of Leury Garcia in right field that scored two runs. Then, left-handed batter Kyle Tucker blasted a two-run home run to left field, giving the Astros a 9-4 lead that held up the rest of the way.

The White Sox had leads of 1-0 and 4-2, but no one in the lineup hit for power for the second straight game. In the series opener, the White Sox recorded seven hits and in Game 2 they added 11 more. However, all the hits have been singles and despite making plenty of contact Houston’s stellar defense lived up to its reputation and made almost every single big play on Friday.

Meanwhile, fans are once again questioning La Russa on several different fronts. Lucas Giolito started the fifth inning after laboring through four and after a pair of walks La Russa brought in left-hander Garrett Crochet. Unfortunately for the White Sox, left-handed hitter Yordan Alvarez walked to load the bases with one out and Yuri Gurriel hit a two-run single that tied the game at four.

Crochet appeared in Game 1 of the series on Wednesday, when he allowed no runs but gave up three hits and threw 26 pitches. Ground ball specialist Aaron Bummer was used later in the game, although he was charged with three earned runs after getting only one out in the seventh.

The White Sox also decided to pinch-hit Cesar Hernandez for Adam Engel to begin the seventh inning. Hernandez stayed in the game to play second base, which moved Garcia to right field. In the bottom half of the seventh, Garcia could not make a tough catch on a liner off the bat of Correa that gave Houston a 7-4 lead.

Maybe a play Engel would have made.

There are also questions about some of the defensive alignments the White Sox used during the game that led to runs for the Astros.

Regardless of the decision-making the Astros have simply been better all around than the White Sox through the first two games of the series. Game 3 in Chicago will be Sunday night.

White Sox Lineup
Anderson SS
Robert CF
Abreu DH
Grandal C
Jimenez LF
Moncada 3B
Vaughn 1B
Garcia 2B
Engel RF
Giolito SP

Astros Lineup
Altuve 2B
Brantley DH
Bregman 3B
Alvarez LF
Gurriel 1B
Correa SS
Tucker RF
McCormick CF
Maldonado C
Valdez SP

Top 1

Anderson hits a ground ball up the middle, where Correa makes a great play ranging to his left and makes an unbalanced throw for the out.

Robert jumps on a 2-0 pitch and lines a single to center field.

Abreu singles through the right side of the infield. Robert stops at second base.

Grandal gets hit on the foot by a curveball to load the bases.

Jimenez hits a grounder to Altuve, who makes a diving stop and gets the force out at second base. Robert scores and the White Sox take a 1-0 lead. Abreu goes to third base.

Moncada strikes out swinging on a curveball in the dirt.

Valdez throws 19 pitches in the first inning.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 0

Bottom 1

Giolito strikes out Altuve swinging with a breaking ball low and away.

Giolito retires Brantley on three pitches. Another swinging strikeout.

Giolito strikes out Bregman swinging with a fastball.

A dominant first inning from Giolito, who throws 16 pitches in the opening frame.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 0

Top 2

Vaughn strikes out swinging on a curveball.

Valdez has the curveball working, Garcia strikes out swinging.

Valdez strikes out the side swinging. Engel can’t check his swing on a curveball in the dirt.

Valdez throws 14 pitches in the second, 33 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 0

Bottom 2

Alvarez works an eight-pitch walk that came after Moncada slid into the side wall legs-first, as he ranged from the shift into foul territory trying to make a catch. Trainer came out, but Moncada stays in the game.

Gurriel grounds into a fielder’s choice. Garcia gets Alvarez out at second base.

Correa works the second full count of the inning and draws a walk.

Tucker beats the shift and singles to left-center field. Gurriel scores and the Astros tie the game 1-1.

First delivery to McCormick is a wild pitch and runners move to second and third.

McCormick hits a sac-fly to left field. Correa scores and Tucker advances to third base. Astros take a 2-1 lead.

Maldonado swings at the first pitch and sends a drive to deep right field, but Engel makes a running catch on the warning track.

Giolito throws 22 pitches, 38 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 2

Top 3

Anderson hits a ground ball to shortstop, Correa fields it in the hole but Anderson beats out the throw.

Robert draws a four-pitch walk.

Abreu strikes out swinging. Valdez using his curveball to get several of whiffs low and inside against Chicago’s right-handed batters.

Grandal taps one back to the mound and Valdez starts a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Valdez throws 12 pitches in the third, 45 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 2

Bottom 3

Altuve with a slow grounder to Moncada, who makes the play for the out.

Brantley lines a ball to the right of Robert, who has it bounce a few feet away after looking like he wanted to dive and allows Brantley to have a double.

Bregman singles to right and Brantley stops at third base.

Alvarez swings at the first pitch and fouls out to Grandal.

Gurriel swings at the first pitch too and he flies out to left.

Giolito only throws 14 pitches in the third, 52 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 2

Top 4

Jimenez singles to center.

Gurriel makes a great play on a smash from Moncada, steps on first and tags Jimenez for the double play.

Vaughn strikes out swinging.

A nine-pitch inning for Valdez, 54 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 2

Bottom 4

Correa strikes out swinging on a changeup.

Tucker fouls out to Grandal.

McCormick with a two-out walk.

Maldonado flies out to right field on a 3-1 pitch.

No damage done, but a 25-pitch inning for Giolito, 77 total.

Score: White Sox 1, Astros 2

Top 5

Garcia hits a grounder that can’t be fielded by Correa and it’s a single.

Engel lines out to Bregman at third.

Anders with a line-drive single to center.

Robert bangs an RBI-single to left. Anderson goes to third and the White Sox tie the game 2-2.

Valdez is taken out for right-handed pitcher Yimi Garcia.

Abreu with a single to center. Anderson scores and the White Sox take a 3-2 lead.

Wild pitch gets runners to second and third.

Grandal hits a sac-fly to left. Robert scores and the White Sox now lead 4-2.

Jimenez grounds out to Altuve.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 2

Bottom 5

Giolito walks Altuve to start the inning.

Brantley flies out to deep center field.

Bregman takes a close pitch on a full count for a ball and walks.

Garrett Crochet comes in to pitch. 

Alvarez lays off on a ball in the dirt, walks and the bases are loaded.

Gurriel with a two-run single past a diving Anderson on a two-strike pitch. All tied up 4-4.

Moncada and Abreu make great plays on both ends for a 5-4 double play off the bat of Correa.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 4

Top 6

Right-hander Phil Maton comes in to pitch.

Moncada hits a pop-fly to right field.

Vaughn hits a soft liner up the middle, but Altuve makes a diving catch for the out.

Garcia strikes out swinging.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 4

Bottom 6

Tucker with a line drive to the left-center field gap, but Jimenez makes a good catch going down to the ground.

McCormick laces a single to right field on the first pitch.

Maldonado taps one back to Tepera, who starts a 1-4-3 double play.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 4

Top 7

Right-hander Ryne Stanek comes in to pitch. Cesar Hernandez pinch-hits for Engel.

Hernandez strikes out swinging on an inside fastball.

Anderson strikes out swinging on a slider.

Robert stays hot and lines a single to left field.

Abreu draws a four-pitch walk.

Grandal lines a ball to right field, but Tucker races back, reaches up and makes the catch.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 4

Bottom 7

Left-hander Aaron Bummer comes in to pitch.

Altuve bounces a single to center field.

Bummer strikes out Brantley swinging.

Bregman smashes a single off Bummer’s glove to center field. Altuve advances to third base.

Alvarez singles up the middle to drive in Altuve, Bregman stops at second base. The Astros take a 5-4 lead.

Craig Kimbrel comes in and replaces Bummer.

Gurriel flies out to right field.

Correa lines a two-run double over the out-stretched glove of Garcia in right field. Astros now lead 7-4.

Tucker hits a two-run homer to right field. Astros blowing it open and now lead 9-4.

McCormick popped out to first base.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 9

Top 8

Ryan Pressly comes in to pitch. Jake Meyers comes in to play center field.

Jimenez grounds out to Altuve.

Moncada grounds out to Bregman.

Vaughn dumps a single to center field.

Garcia strikes out swinging.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 9

Bottom 8

Liam Hendriks comes in to pitch.

Maldonado flies out to the warning track in right field.

Altuve strikes out swinging.

Brantley strikes out swinging.

Score: White Sox 4, Astros 9

Top 9

Kendall Graveman comes in to pitch.

Hernandez walks on four pitches.

Anderson singles to right field. Hernandez stops at second base.

Robert grounded into a fielder’s choice. Runners advance to second and third.

Abreu strikes out swinging.

Grandal fouls out to Tucker down the right-field line.

FINAL: White Sox 4, Astros 9

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