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    Astros vs. White Sox: Live updates from ALDS Game 2 of MLB playoffs – Houston Chronicle

    After beating the White Sox 6-1 yesterday, the Astros look to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five American League Division Series on Friday afternoon. The score is tied 4-4 after six innings. Follow along for breaking news, live updates and analysis from our team of writers. 


    Yordan delivers again

    4:21 p.m. — Yordan Alvarez is dominating the White Sox through two games.

    Thursday, the third-year Astros slugger went 2-for-3 with a home run and double. A day later, Dusty Baker’s cleanup hitter singled home Jose Altuve in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Astros a 5-4 lead.

    Maybe you make it through the bottom of the Astros’ lineup — although Chas McCormick lived on base in Game 2.

    Maybe you find a way safely through Altuve, Brantley and Bregman without giving up a run. But by the time Alvarez rolls around in the four spot?

    You’re likely in trouble again. 

    Alvarez is 1-for-2 in Game 2 with an RBI and two walks. He’s been a middle-of-the-lineup difference maker for the Astros as the eighth inning of Game 2 approaches. — Brian T. Smith

    Astros regain lead

    4:16 p.m. — Yordan Alvarez has put the Astros in front again with an RBI single that gave them a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning. Jose Altuve, who led off with a single and moved to third on Alex Bregman’s single, scored the go-ahead bum. That ended reliever Aaron Bummer’s outing. The Astros have runners on first and second with one out.  — Greg Rajan

    Stanek gets out of jam

    4:12 p.m. — Ryne Stanek found his best form down the stretch of the regular season. He recorded a 1.15 ERA in his last 16 appearance, allowing just two earned runs on nine hits in 15 ⅔ innings with 17 strikeouts. The Astros’ decision to save him for the seventh inning paid off. Stanek struck out the first two batters he faced. He then gave up a single to Luis Robert and walked Jose Abreu on four pitches, though the last was in the zone, before Kyle Tucker’s running catch ended the frame. — Danielle Lerner

    Doing it with defense

    4:02 p.m. — Kyle Tucker kept the Astros even with a terrific running catch for the final out of the top of the seventh inning with two runners on. It’s his second stellar catch of the series in as many games. — Greg Rajan

    Web gem

    3:41 p.m. — Jose Altuve robbed the White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn of a one-out single during the sixth inning with a terrific diving catch to his right. — Greg Rajan

    Astros break through vs. bullpen

    3:38 p.m. — Garret Crochet threw 26 pitches in Thursday’s game. The White Sox still entrusted him to take over from Giolito with two on and one out in the fifth inning. Batters hit .313 off Crochet on zero days’ rest in four previous games this season. Yuli Gurriel, who had yet to get a hit this series, followed the trend. He fouled off one 0-2 pitch and batted the next through the left side for a two-RBI single to tie the score at 4-4. — Danielle Lerner

    Deficit is short-lived

    3:30 p.m. — AL batting champ Yuli Gurriel was off to an 0-for-6 start in this ALDS, but his first hit was a big one. Grounding Garrett Crochet’s 0-2 pitch past White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Gurriel drives in two to tie the game at 4. — Steve Schaeffer

    Apology from Kaat

    3:25 p.m. — MLB Network analyst Jim Kaat apologized during the Astros-White Sox broadcast after making a slavery reference regarding Chicago infielder Yoan Moncada. In attempting to compliment Moncada while chatting with fellow analyst Buck Showalter, Kaat said to “get a 40-acre field full of them.” The “40-acre field” reminded some viewers of the unfilled promise by the U.S. government that freed slaves would receive 40 acres and a mule following the Civil War. During the fifth inning, Kaat issued the following apology: “Earlier in the game when Yoán Moncada was at the plate, in an attempt to compliment the great player that he is, I used a poor choice of words that resulted in an insensitive and hurtful remark. And I’m sorry for that.” — Associated Press

    Short afternoon for Valdez

    3:19 p.m. — Framber Valdez’s final line was 69 pitches, 43 strikes, 4⅓ innings, seven hits, four earned runs, one walk and six strikeouts. The White Sox struck four hits against him in the first four innings and three in the fifth inning. Valdez did not complete five innings for the first time since July 11, but this is the playoffs and Dusty Baker was reluctant to let him face reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu a third time. Yimi Garcia, who entered the game with a 0.587 OPS against righthanded hitters, took over in a tough spot with runners on the corners and one out. Abreu’s 90-mph RBI line drive barely left the infield, and another run scored on a sacrifice fly following a wild pitch. — Danielle Lerner

    Second-guessing looms for Baker

    3:13 p.m. — Win or lose, Dusty Baker’s fifth-inning bullpen decision will be debated. Baker pulled his second-best starter after just 69 pitches and 4 ⅓ innings. Framber Valdez had limited the White Sox to one run but began to yield hard contact during his third look at Chicago’s lineup. In their third at-bat against Valdez, leadoff man Tim Anderson (109.3 mph) and two-hole hitter Luis Robert (110.3 mph) both barreled well-struck singles to end his afternoon. Baker went to Yimi Garcia — his best early-game option against righthanded hitting — and it backfired. Righthanded hitters had just a .587 OPS against him in the regular season. José Abreu greeted him with a single to score Anderson as the go-ahead run. — Chandler Rome

    Astros’ deficit grows

    3:08 p.m.  —  A wild pitch by Yimi Garcia led directly to a fourth run for the White Sox. Luis Robert and Jose Abreu moved to third and second, with Robert scoring on Yasmani Grandal’s fly to left for the second out in the Chicago fifth. Eloy Jimenez subsequently grounded out. — Steve Schaeffer

    White Sox back in front

    3:04 p.m. — Jose Abreu greets reliever Yimi Garcia with an RBI single to put the White Sox back ahead 3-2. Chicago has runners on first and second with one out in the fifth. — Greg Rajan

    Valdez done

    3:01 p.m. — Framber Valdez’s outing is over after 4⅓ innings. Yimi Garcia will take over with runners on the corners and one out with the score tied at 2. — Greg Rajan

    White Sox pull even

    2:59 p.m. — Luis Robert’s fourth single of the series ties the game at 2 with one out in the fifth. The Astros did not face Robert in the regular season because of a hip flexor strain that sidelined him for more than three months. They have yet to retire him at the plate in this series. Besides the four singles, he has walked, was hit in the hand by a pitch, and reached on an error by Alex Bregman. He was, however, retired on the bases in Game 1 when caught stealing after he was hit.  — Steve Schaeffer

    Making him work

    2:49 p.m. — The Astros’ lineup strikes out less than any in baseball. It makes more contact than any other, too. The club’s patience leads to taxing plate appearances. Lucas Giolito is getting a heavy dose. He’s thrown 77 pitches through four laborious innings. He got ahead 0-2 to the leadoff man during the second, third and fourth innings. That trio of Astros forced him to throw 16 more pitches before their plate appearances concluded. — Chandler Rome

    Astros keeping things clean

    2:41 p.m. — Carlos Correa predicted that the advantage in this series would be held by whichever team played the cleanest, and so far that hypothesis is holding up. The White Sox have made a few mistakes already today on defense, including when they misplayed a fly ball in the third inning to allow Michael Brantley aboard at second base. The Astros are beating them by simply playing good fundamental baseball, such as Yuli Gurriel turning an unassisted double play on Yoan Moncada’s ground ball in the fourth inning. From Chicago’s point of view, it may seem like bad luck, but it’s also Houston’s execution. — Danielle Lerner

    Life imitates game

    2:27 p.m. — Jeffrey Smith almost made it to end of the third inning without a meltdown. It was over ice cream.

    “That’s not enough,” Smith, 3, told his mother, Deborah, as she took what was left of the scoop back, leading to protests, leading to tears.

    “He’s been having fun until now,” Deobrah Smith, 32, said. “It’s just a lot to take in.”

    She was optimistic he’d hang in long enough for the end of the game, if for no other reason than he is a lot like a baseball game.

    “He has all kinds of energy, and he gets three tries until we take a little timeout.” — Dug Begley

    Pitching to his strengths

    2:17 p.m. — Ground ball outs and filthy curveballs are Framber Valdez’s bread and butter. He ended the regular season with the highest ground-ball percentage (70.3) in the majors and a 19.1 percent whiff rate on his curveball. Both helped him get out of a jam in the third inning after an infield single and a walk put two on with no outs. Valdez fanned Jose Abreu on a curveball and coerced Yasmani Grandal into grounding into a 1-4-3 double play. The Astros are demonstrating that when their backs are against the wall, strong defense and cool heads prevail. — Danielle Lerner

    Not Mr. October

    2:16 p.m. — After hitting into a 1-4-3 double play to end the White Sox third, Yasmani Grandal is now batting .118 (11 for 93) in his postseason career, which includes 32 games with the Dodgers, one with the Brewers and five with the White Sox. — Steve Schaeffer

    Not their first rodeo

    2:11 p.m. — Experience can make a difference.

    Experience is playing a big role 11 innings into the ALDS.

    Chicago gave away two potential MLB outs in the second inning. Lucas Giolito then walked two batters before giving up an RBI single to Kyle Tucker, which tied Game 2 at 1-1. A sacrifice fly from Chas McCormick scored a sliding Carlos Correa, handing the Astros a 2-1 lead.

    And the early theme of this series had already been reinforced.

    The White Sox’s defense was a problem throughout the regular season. In the second inning Friday, the defense helped keep Giolito on the mound. Chicago became shakier as the pressure mounted. 

    The Astros spent the inning sending a row of hitters to the plate, utilizing a disciplined approach that was praised by White Sox starter Lance Lynn after Game 1. 

    The Astros’ playoff experience and cleaner brand of baseball have been noticeable early in the ALDS. — Brian T. Smith

    Self-inflicted Sox wounds

    2:03 p.m. — The White Sox are getting destroyed by fundamental flaws. Lucas Giolito issued a leadoff walk in the second inning but got a soft line drive from Yuli Gurriel that could have been a double play. His infield could not turn it. Giolito walked Carlos Correa to put two on and allowed a shift-beating single to Kyle Tucker that scored Gurriel. Correa and Tucker took an extra base when Giolito tossed a wild pitch — Chicago’s 85th of the season. The White Sox lead baseball with a combined 84 wild pitches and 18 passed balls in the regular season. Correa scored on a sacrifice fly from Chas McCormick that went just 274 feet. Predictably, left fielder Eloy Jimenez’s throw sailed high and allowed the go-ahead run to score. — Chandler Rome

    Astros take the lead

    2:00 p.m.  —  Chas McCormick, making his playoff debut, lifts a sacrifice fly to left field to score Carlos Correa for a 2-1 Astros lead in the second inning. — Greg Rajan

    Live by the shift …

    1:55 p.m. — With the White Sox infield shifted to the right side, the Astros’ Kyle Tucker slaps a single through the vacated left side for an RBI single to score Yuli Gurriel and tie the score at 1 apiece in the second inning. — Greg Rajan

    Valdez settles in

    1:42 p.m. — After a bumpy first inning, Astros starter Framber Valdez restored order in the second, striking out the side on 14 pitches. — Greg Rajan

    Formidable foe

    1:32 p.m. Unfortunately for the Astros, Lance Lynn cannot pitch every day. Houston has a far more formidable task with White Sox righty Lucas Giolito. He has a more varied arsenal than Lynn’s fastball-heavy repertoire and is on an incredible streak of success against the Astros. Giolito’s thrown a complete game in each of his last two starts against Houston, including a three-hitter on July 17 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Giolito’s slider is disgusting and he demonstrated it in an overpowering first inning, striking out the side with little issue. — Chandler Rome

    A sellout, but …

    1:30 p.m. — There are few things better than day baseball during the playoffs. A potential downside, though?

    Minute Maid Park hasn’t been completely packed for Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS.

    Thursday’s series opener was announced as a sellout with an official attendance of 40,497. But seating areas were clearly open in the upper section of the ballpark, while there were empty rows in the lower section.

    Game 2 was a true day game (1:07 p.m. start) and featured more of the same, in terms of noticeable open seats.

    Who cares? Does it matter?

    Not really. Especially if the home team wins.

    Things also continue be randomly weird 19 months into the coronavirus pandemic.

    As always, I mostly blame scalpers, bots, the internet and profit-obsessed ticket agencies. Just because someone isn’t in a seat doesn’t mean the ticket wasn’t sold.

    Game 1 was playoff loud and a good, fun time for everyone wearing orange. The beginning of Game 2 was filled with echoing approval for Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa during introductions. The crowd that is here is doing its job.

    But it is a little odd to see rows of open seats during back-to-back Astros home playoff games. — Brian T. Smith

    Importance of scoring first

    1:25 p.m. — The White Sox are 66-23 this season when they score first. The Astros are 29-37 when they don’t. — Steve Schaeffer

    Defense saves Astros

    1:24 p.m. — The Astros defense saved Framber Valdez from a far worse first-inning fate. Carlos Correa made an incredible ranging play to his left to take away a leadoff hit from Tim Anderson. Jose Altuve dove to stop Eloy Jimenez’s bases-loaded missile and keep it from creeping into the outfield. In all, the Astros should be thrilled with just the one run allowed. Valdez didn’t receive a swing and miss until his 19th and final pitch of the frame. Two of the four batted balls in play were hit harder than 103 mph off the bat. — Chandler Rome

    White Sox take early lead

    1:20 p.m. — The White Sox loaded the bases against Framber Valdez with one out thanks to two singles and a hit batter. Eloy Jimenez’s fielder’s choice gave Chicago its first lead of the series at 1-0, although Jose Altuve’s diving stop and throw to Carlos Correa kept things from getting worse. It’s 1-0 White Sox, heading to the bottom of the first. — Greg Rajan

    Yordan Alvarez in the outfield

    12:36 p.m. — Yordan Alvarez is making his 40th start of the season in left field today. Starter Framber Valdez’s league-leading 70.3 percent groundball rate suggests he won’t get many tries out there — which is part of manager Dusty Baker’s thought process. When Valdez exits, though, Baker may confront a difficult decision: take Alvarez out for defensive purposes or leave him in and run the risk of a crucial play coming his way. Baker said before the game he must be cognizant of where Alvarez’s spot is in the batting order and make a decision accordingly. Removing Alvarez too early and missing his bat in a crucial situation could be costly. — Chandler Rome

    In a rush

    Even at their peak, Houston’s tunnels never saw a lunch rush like the one at Minute Maid Park on Friday as fans eagerly awaited the 1 p.m. start of Game 2. Long lines clogged the stadium, as folks walked beers and baskets of fries to their seats.

    “I might get there by the first inning,” Paul Todd joked a little after noon as he waited for barbeque, or perhaps a hot dog.

    “I have time to make up my mind,” he said. — Dug Begley

    Keeping the bullpen right

    12:25 p.m. — As an eighth- and ninth-inning tandem, Ryan Pressly and Kendall Graveman are an invaluable part of the stable of righthanders the Astros must rely on to dispatch a White Sox lineup heavy with righthanded hitters. Pitching coach Brent Strom said he expected both men to be available to pitch again Friday in what could be a tough matchup for Astros lefty starter Framber Valdez. — Danielle Lerner.

    Betting on the home team

    11:43 a.m. — Houston furniture magnate Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale says he placed a wager of “more than $20 million” on the Astros to win the World Series, looking to offset a costs of a current free furniture program his store Gallery Furniture is running.  — Chris Shelton

    Odorizzi ‘disappointed’ by roster omission

    11:32 a.m. — Being excluded from the Astros’ ALDS roster “disappointed” veteran starter Jake Odorizzi, pitching coach Brent Strom said Friday before Game 2.

    Odorizzi declined comment through a team spokesman before the series opener. He had previously called out the organization after being pulled following a five-inning, 66-pitch outing Sept. 7, calling it “bull—-.”

    “I’m not going to sugarcoat it — he was disappointed,” Strom said Friday. “He obviously felt he should have been on the team.” — Chandler Rome

    ‘A beautiful time’

    10:50 a.m. — Even in a crowd of 30,000 fans — some painted orange and hundreds wearing the same Jose Altuve jersey — Katrelle Gabriel sees familiar faces.

    It’s a remarkable feat, given she’s only spending 30 seconds or so, over and over again handing someone a can of beer, taking the payment and moving on to the next. And the next. And the next.

    “I can’t get enough of (it),” she said Thursday in a brief break in the action, as the Astros were easily handling the White Sox in Game 1.

    After a year of silence during the 2020 season, the cacophony is back in the concourse and so are Gabriel and hundreds of other food, alcohol and souvenir vendors. They’ll return today, ready for a second set of fans for midday baseball.

    “You can feel the people wanting to be in here,” she said. “We’re having a beautiful time.”

    Sales are also big business. In August, the last month for which state records are available, Minute Maid Park was the biggest alcohol seller in the region. Vendors there sold more than $2 million worth of beverages. The ballpark traditionally in the biggest summertime sales spot for alcohol — then cedes the top spot to NRG Park. — Dug Begley

    White Sox prepare for a lefty

    10:12 a.m.  — With the White Sox facing a lefty in Framber Valdez today, Tony La Russa shifted his lineup some for Game 2  —  Steve Schaeffer

    1. Tim Anderson SS
    2. Luis Robert CF
    3. Jose Abreu 1B
    4. Yasmani Grandal C
    5. Eloy Jimenez LF
    6. Yoan Moncada 3B
    7. Andrew Vaughn DH
    8. Leury Garcia 2B
    9. Adam Engel RF
    RHP Lucas Giolito

    Luis Garcia to start Game 3

    9:56 a.m. — The Astros will start rookie righthander Luis Garcia in Game 3 at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, manager Dusty Baker announced. Baker said the team will “probably” José Urquidy in Game 4, should one be necessary. Garcia had a 3.30 ERA during his breakout rookie season, but has severe home and road splits that could cause concern. Garcia had a 2.39 ERA in 13 starts at Minute Maid Park and a 4.24 clip in 15 road appearances. Opponents are slugging .426 against Garcia on the road. Chandler Rome

    Astros lineup: McCormick in center

    9:18 a.m. — Jake Meyers’ two-hit afternoon Thursday wasn’t enough to earn a start Friday. Manager Dusty Baker rotated Meyers and Chas McCormick routinely in the final two months of the season and isn’t going to stop now. Meyers’ value as a late-game defensive replacement in center — where McCormick is still relatively new defensively — can’t be ignored, either.Chandler Rome

    Here’s how the Astros will line up for Game 2:

    1. Jose Altuve, 2B
    2. Michael Brantley, DH
    3. Alex Bregman, 3B
    4. Yordan Alvarez, LF
    5. Yuli Gurriel,1B
    6. Carlos Correa, SS
    7. Kyle Tucker, RF
    8. Chas McCormick, CF
    9. Martin Maldonado, C
    Framber Valdez, LHP


    Framber’s turn 

    9 a.m. — It’s been a long road since Framber Valdez broke his finger in spring training and put a question beside his name for rest of season. “It’s kind of incredible,” he said before his Game 2 start. — Danielle Lerner


    Astros on MLB Network

    9 a.m. — Today’s game is the fourth Astros division series game to be broadcast on MLB Network. They went 2-1 in the first three, beating the Royals in Game 3 in the 2015 ALDS and the Red Sox in Game 1 of the 2017 ALDS, both at Minute Maid Park. The loss came in Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS at Tampa Bay. — Greg Rajan


    Game 1: Astros 6, White Sox 1

    Fundamental baseball is mandatory in October. The Astros’ 6-1 win epitomized it. Lance McCullers Jr. surrendered four singles across 6 ⅔ splendid shutout innings. The Astros struck 10 hits of their own. Eight of them were singles. Yordan Alvarez collected his club’s only two extra-base hits — a double during the third and mammoth solo home run to start the fifth.

    The lineup still managed six runs. It hit against the shift, advanced baserunners and accepted any miniscule chance Chicago gave it. Alvarez advanced to third base on Tucker’s routine fly ball to Robert. Three pitches later, he scored Houston’s first run on Jake Meyers’ single, a manufactured run on Lynn’s miserable night. Read more about the Astros’ Game 1 win here and be sure to check out our Astros page for much more coverage. — Chandler Rome

    • Game 1: It was about the fundamentals, Chandler Rome reports.
    • Carlos Correa: The people have spoken, Jim Crane. Pay Carlos Correa whatever it takes, Brian T. Smith writes.
    • Michael Brantley: Perfect time for a return.
    • Lance McCullers: He pitches and acts like an ace, Jerome Solomon writes.
    • Jake Meyers: Rookie delivers like an old-hand.


    Previewing the series

    • Carlos Correa knows the playoffs might be his last hurrah with the Astros.
    • Yuli Gurriel, a first-time batting champ at 37, is primed for another World Series run.
    • Catcher Martín Maldonado is the glue paving the Astros’ playoff path
    • The ALDS renews a long (friendly?) rivalry between Astros manager Dusty Baker and White Sox counterpart Tony La Russa, who also played one game as teammates long ago. 
    • Breaking down the position-by-position matchups in the series.
    • The Astros’ Kyle Tucker is quietly cementing his status as a star — and one of the best lefthanded batters in all of baseball.
    • A key decision faces the Astros: starting Chas McCormick or Jake Meyers in center field?
    • Former Astros Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel may be working in a new role for the White Sox this series.
    • Geoff Blum hit a game-winning home run for the White Sox against Houston in the 2005 World Series. But he’s all-in on the Astros.
    • MLB Network’s Robert Flores, a proud Houston native, says this Astros run of success is on par with the Rockets’ Clutch City era in the 1990s.
    • Take a look back at how the Astros fared against the White Sox during the regular season.
    • We preview the series on the latest episode of the Texas Sports Nation podcast.
    • Here’s how and when to watch all the games.
    The best food and drink to enjoy while watching the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

    For much more coverage on the series, go to our Astros page.

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