Hector Santiago (2-4, 3.12) vs Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 4.37)
Five hits on Friday, six hits on Saturday, seven hits today - but it's been just enough each time. With their third straight one-run win, the Astros are now officially on their second longest winning streak of the season (four games), and they've assured themselves at worst of a series victory over the White Sox. Today's final: 5-4 Astros, and they go for the sweep tomorrow at 26-44 overall.
On the Mound:
*Dallas Keuchel is on some kind of roll, allowing no more than two runs in no less than six innings now in each of his last four starts. Kid Keuchy kept Chicago off the board for the first five innings today, then allowed one each in the 6th and 7th to finish with a 6.1 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K line.
*Jose Cisnero allowed a single and a walk to load the bases after coming on for Keuchel in the 7th, but got a K and a ground out to end the inning with no further damage.
*Hector Ambriz (0.2 IP, H) and Travis Blackley (0.1 IP, K) combined on a scoreless 8th.
*Jose Veras alternated ground outs and hits in the 9th - though the second of those hits was a two-run homer by Alejandro De Aza - but he was given a three-run margin to start with, thus still earning his 14th save.
At the Plate:
*Castro the Astro! Going deep for the second straight game. Today it was a 2-run shot off the Chick-Fil-A Fowl Pole in left (#10 of the year), and Jason finished 2 for 4 with a K.
*Matt Dominguez had the other big blow for the Astros, stroking a bases-loaded double to left in the 2nd that drove home all three runners. Matty D finished 1 for 4 with a K.
*Chris Carter had another nice day, going 2 for 4 with a double, a run scored, and 2 K.
*Jose Altuve singled ahead of Castro's homer in the 7th, finishing 1 for 4 with a R, a SB, and a K.
*Brandon Barnes singled and walked to finish his day at the plate 1 for 3, and made another trademark running catch before tripping and tumbling up Tal's Hill in the 2nd.
The Astros had seen their 3-0 lead after 5 shrink to an uncomfortably close 3-2 going into the 7th inning stretch. Brandon Barnes led off Houston's half of the 7th with a ground out, then Jose Altuve singled off White Sox reliever Nate Jones. Robin Ventura brought in lefty Matt Thornton to face lefty Jason Castro, but Jason made that strategy backfire. A two-run homer gave Houston their three-run lead back, and would ultimately prove to be the deciding blow.
Man of the Match:
Jason Castro. He may not make the All-Star team - Altuve's .292 average (and All-Star cred) is more alluring than Castro's .270 - but he's turned into a huge bright spot at a premium position for Houston.
Goat of the Game:
Jose Veras. With a 5-2 lead, everything turned out alright, but under most other circumstances, we'd be very upset with Jose right now.