Preview: Astros at White Sox
The Chicago White Sox attempt to complete a sweep when they host the Houston Astros in the finale of their three-game series Sunday. Chicago has inched within four games of .500 at 47-51 thanks to a pair of one-run victories over Houston. Tyler Flowers was the hero for the White Sox in both triumphs, delivering a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning Friday and another in the fifth the following night.
The Astros may catch a break Sunday as Flowers - who is 6-for-9 with three doubles and three RBIs over his last three contests - is unlikely to catch an afternoon game after being behind the plate the previous night. Houston tripled its hit total from Friday as All-Star Jose Altuve recorded a pair and drove in two runs while rookie George Springer hit his team-leading 20th home run, but the club went on to lose for the 11th time in 15 contests. The Astros (40-58) remain one-half game ahead of last-place Texas in the American League West and 11 wins away from matching their 2013 total.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Jarred Cosart (9-6, 4.17 ERA) vs. White Sox LH John Danks (8-6, 3.99)
Cosart has not pitched since July 7, when he picked up the win at Texas despite surrendering six runs (five earned) and nine hits in five innings while also dealing with a blister. The 24-year-old has won five of his last six starts but has yielded six runs in each of his last two turns. Cosart won his first career decision against Chicago on May 17, allowing only three runs on seven hits and four walks in five frames.
Danks settled for a no-decision at Cleveland last Sunday after allowing one run and seven hits in seven innings. The 29-year-old has won five of his last six decisions and yielded fewer than three runs in eight of his last 10 starts but is only 5-2 in that span. Danks has yet to defeat the Astros in his career, posting a 7.71 ERA while losing all three outings - including one May 18 at Houston in which he gave up eight runs (seven earned) and 10 hits over 4 2/3 frames.
1. White Sox OF Alejandro De Aza has recorded four multi-hit performances in his last seven games.
2. Altuve is 3-for-9 with five strikeouts in the series.
3. Chicago has won five of its last six home contests.
PREDICTION: White Sox 5, Astros 2