Two two-out rallies came back to bite the Chicago White Sox.
And instead of a second straight win to start the season, the Sox suffered a 6-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday in front of 41,453 at Minute Maid Park.
Yordan Alvarez delivered the big hit, driving in three with a double in the seventh inning to give the Astros the lead.
“All rallies deflate, but when you get a few quick outings and you give up a few runs, obviously it hurts a little bit more,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “All gatherings hurt.”
The Sox couldn’t hold a three-point lead, falling to 1-1 after rallying for a 3-2 win Thursday in the season opener.
“Overall, a few walks just happened to us,” Grifol said. “Especially on the bottom of the command which resulted in a few runs. Hard-fought game. A throw or two, a hit or two and the result is different.
The Sox led 3-0 in the sixth, with Eloy Jiménez making two runs on two doubles. Yoán Moncada also had an RBI double, one of the third baseman’s three hits.
Sox starter Lance Lynn pitched well but struggled in the sixth. He struck out the first two batters of the inning before former Sox first baseman José Abreu singled to center. Kyle Tucker followed with a two-run homer down the center, cutting the Sox’s lead to one.
It was the last batter for Lynn, who allowed both runs on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks in 5⅔ innings.
“I walked too many guys and then gave up the circuit in sixth, that’s on me,” Lynn said. “I have to pass this round. If I pass this round, we have a chance to win. Put the pen in a bad place. They had to come and take me out of the round and it didn’t go our way after that.
“When you don’t go six innings, you haven’t done your job as a starter. So I didn’t do my job (Friday) and it cost us the game.
The momentum continued to follow the Astros’ trend in seventh with stellar defense.
Third baseman Alex Bregman fielded Tim Anderson’s slow throw with his bare hands and made a throw to first base just in time to start the inning. And with a runner on and an out, Tucker made a leaping catch near the wall in right field to rob Andrew Benintendi.
“That fly ball that (Benintendi) hit on the right field line, I don’t know if it would have been a home run or not, but it was a hell of a play,” Grifol said. “We would have just added right after dropping a few, we would have put a crooked number on the board with that one.
“It was just a great play by a really good player. I’ve seen him make those plays before.
In the bottom of the seventh, reliever Kendall Graveman gave up a two-out walk to Martín Maldonado, the Astros’ ninth batter.
“You can’t walk (Maldonado) there,” Graveman said. “This is the game. It’s gotta be better than this. This game is on me, only. I’ve got two throws, two outs then a walk down the field at 3-2. Keep challenging, keep challenging the zone I have to find a way out of here.
Jeremy Peña blooped a left single and Bregman walked, loading the bases for Alvarez.
Jake Diekman came on for the Sox, creating a left-left game. Alvarez went the other way to the left for the three-point brace, giving the Astros a 5-3 lead.
“(I) shouldn’t put (Diekman) in this situation,” Graveman said. “Should never be in this situation. We fought and we fought and I thought we hit the ball well (Astros starter Cristian) Javier. Reliever confidence, we need to continue to build confidence in our team by throwing the ball well. And when you have a late-inning lead, you have to go and win baseball games and that’s how you build confidence.
“It’s a long season, two games, obviously you never want that to happen. But you have to keep working and improving. Someone is going to pick us up (Saturday) and let’s try to win a series and win a game. We have two more ahead of us.