Chicago White Sox and Yoán Moncada run out of magic in the late inning in a 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros – The Mercury News

Adam Engel led off the seventh inning with a broken single in the middle. He represented the tying run for the Chicago White Sox against the Houston Astros.

Did the Sox have another comeback in them?

Wednesday not.

Romy Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop Jeremy Peña, and the Astros got a force out at second. AJ Pollock’s hard hit grounder through the middle turned into an eye-opening, inning-ending double play, started by second baseman Jose Altuve.

There would be no magic for the third night in a row for the Sox, who fell 3-2 to 24,671.

“(We) got back up there in the late innings with opportunities,” said Engel. “Law of averages says you don’t capitalize every time, but it felt like we did.”

The Sox saw their winning streak end at five, falling two games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central.

The Sox scored four runs in the eighth inning Monday to beat the Astros 4-2. They scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth Tuesday, battling it out for a 4-3 win.

Yoán Moncada provided the leading goal in both games. He was in another big spot on Wednesday.

Eloy Jiménez walked with one out in the eighth. He was waived for pinch runner Luis Robert. José Abreu singled out of the glove of a diving Peña.

That brought in Moncada with runners on first and second base. He took the lead in the 2-1 count. But reliever Ryne Stanek fought back and knocked him down while painting the outside corner for the third strike.

Yasmani Grandal went out 3-1, but popped out to catcher Martín Maldonado in foul territory.

“We had (Moncada) back on the board, he’s done it for us for the past two nights,” Engel said. “I felt really good about that place. We didn’t make it through (Wednesday) of course, but I felt like we played really good baseball and gave ourselves a shot and just didn’t quite come back. ”

The Sox outhit the Astros 8-5 but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and grounded into three double plays.

“The difference was the (Astros) defense,” said Sox manager Tony La Russa. “We hit a lot of balls hard. They turned them into outs, sometimes doubles. We made better contact than two runs.”

Michael Kopech, who left after six no-hit innings in his last start Friday against the Detroit Tigers, kept the Sox in Wednesday’s game, giving up three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

“A team like (the Astros), we know what they are capable of, so three runs might be too much like it was (Wednesday),” said Kopech. “I made some mistakes that I think could have been avoided and narrowed those three runs down to less than that. But I can’t turn back the clock.”

Kopech pointed to a four-pitch walk to Altuve as a key point. Altuve stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice fly.

“That four-pitch walk to lead the game and back-to-back stolen bases ended up being a difference maker,” said Kopech. “Unfortunately you don’t want to see a difference maker in the game in the first inning, but that’s what happened and I hold myself a little bit responsible for that.”

The Astros scored twice in the top of the fourth and the Sox answered 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 into a double play. A run was scored and Moncada advanced to third base. Astros-starter Framber Valdez struckout Engel to end the inning.

“Obviously we were looking for more than two innings in the fourth inning,” said La Russa. “Look back at how that game was played and some of the moves they made defensively. They were the difference makers. I thought we did really well against Valdez.”

Valdez gave up two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks in seven innings, as the Astros slowed down the momentum the Sox have been building recently.

“We fought,” Kopech said. “That goes a long way. What we’ve done in the last five before (Wednesday) has been impressive, and by sticking 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.”

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