Robert, Moncada power White Sox past Astros 6-3
HOUSTON - Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada homered, Mike Clevinger threw five shutout innings and the Chicago White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 6-3 on Sunday.
Robert hit a solo home run in the fifth and made a spectacular sliding catch on the left-center warning tack in the ninth to rob Kyle Tucker of extra bases. Moncada hit a two-run homer in the ninth as Chicago gained a four-game split of the opening series.
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Down 6-1, Houston closed in the ninth on RBI singles by José Abreu and David Hensley off Reynaldo López. New White Sox manager Pedro Grifol came onto the field attempting to make a mound visit, but umpires conferenced, and he was turned back because Chicago had reached its limit.
Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke with umpire Bill Miller, apparently asking why the White Sox weren't being penalized for trying to make too many mound trips.
Lopez stepped off the rubber with Chas McCormick at the plate and a 1-2 count and was charged a balk for a third disengagement in violation of this year's new rules. Lopez threw a ball, then retired McCormick on an infield pop with his 37th pitch - seven more than he threw in any outing last year.
Clevinger (1-0) allowed three hits and struck out eight but walked three and hit two batters. The right-hander, who signed a $12 million, one-year deal, was 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 appearances last season with San Diego.
Chicag left the bases loaded in the second and sixth, stranded runners on second and third in the fourth and went 5 for 19 with runners in scoring position with 12 left on base.
Luis Garcia (0-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. The Astros were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners.
Andrew Vaughn had an RBI single in the sixth and scored on Oscar Colás' double for a 3-0 lead.
Chas McCormick scored on Gregory Santos' wild pitch in the bottom half, but Tim Anderson had an RBI double in the eighth, Moncada homered off Seth Martinez in the ninth for a five-run margin.
ANOTHER AWARDS CEREMONY
For a third straight day, the Astros handed out awards prior to a game. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Framber Valdez received 2022 first team All-MLB awards, while Ryan Pressly and Tucker received second team honors.
Astros: OF Michael Brantley went back to Florida on Sunday to continue his rehabilitation following surgery on his right shoulder last year. Baker said he hoped to have Brantley back by the end of the month or sooner, adding that Brantley would likely go on a rehab assignment before he returns to the Astros. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (muscle strain in right arm) threw again on flat ground.
White Sox: RHP Michael Kopech, who went 5-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 25 starts in 2022, will start Chicago's home opener on Monday against San Francisco.
Astros: RHP Hunter Brown, who went 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA in seven appearances, including two starts last season, will start Monday in the first of a three-game series against Detroit.