Diaz homers, Astros hold off White Sox 4-3
CHICAGO (AP) — Yainer Diaz hit his first major league home run to back rookie Hunter Brown and help the Houston Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Sunday for their fourth win in five games.
Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run double in the first, advanced on shortstop Tim Anderson’s throwing error and scored on Kyle Tucker’s sacrifice fly as the Astro built an early lead. Diaz, who debuted last September, homered off Lucas Giolito (2-3) in the fourth for a four-run advantage.
Diaz’s teammates greeted him with the silent treatment in the dugout.
“It definitely count me by surprise at first, but then after I saw the first person ignore me, I knew what they were doing,” Diaz said through an interpreter.
Houston is 21-19 without injured second baseman Jose Altuve, left fielder Michael Brantley and starting pitchers Luis Garcia, José Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr.
“A series win is great and obviously a happy flight today for us,” Brown said.
Luis Robert Jr. homered for the third consecutive game and Jake Burger also went deep for the White Sox, who have lost four of five and seven of 11.
“I feel like we keep beating on the same drum, but we have the talent in here,” Burger said. “It’s just putting it together and getting results on the field.”
Burger, recovered from a strained oblique that had sidelined him since May 3, cut the deficit to 4-3 with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Brown (4-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, walked one and tied his career high with eight strikeouts.
Ryan Pressly pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
Robert drove his 11th homer in the fourth.
Giolito allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
“A huge part of a starting pitcher’s job is set the tone early and keep momentum on our side. I failed to do that,” Giolito said.
Astros: Brantley (right shoulder inflammation) expressed frustration with the setback in his return from surgery. The five-time All-Star is out indefinitely. “As a competitor, you want to be out there with your team,” he said. “I love these guys. I love this organization. No one is more disappointed than myself.” …OF Chas McCormick (back tightness) returned to the lineup after missing four consecutive games. …SS Jeremy Peña had the day off.
White Sox: C Carlos Pérez was optioned to Charlotte. …C Yasmani Grandal (right hamstring tightness) was available Sunday and could return to the lineup Tuesday, Grifol said. Grandal was scratched Saturday after he left Thursday’s 4-3 loss at Kansas City. …RHP Liam Hendriks (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) struck out one in 1/3 of an inning in a rehab appearance with Charlotte as he nears a return.
Diaz, who was the designated hitter instead of the catcher Sunday, hit 42 homers with Cleveland and Houston affiliates over the last two seasons.
“As long as I can load on time and be on time for that, I should be able to hit any pitch that’s thrown at me pretty hard,” he said.
Chicago committed four pitch-timer violations.
“I got one because I didn’t throw my last warmup pitch before 30 seconds,” Giolito said. “I wasn’t aware of that rule, so maybe I should read up on the rulebook more. The strikeout on one. The other one was pretty standard. We couldn’t figure out with the pitch com which pitch we were throwing and ran out of time.”
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-4, 2.38 ERA) is set to start Monday against RHP Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.41) and the Cubs.
White Sox: Chicago had yet to announce its starter for Tuesday against Cleveland and RHP Shane Bieber (3-1, 2.61).
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