Lance McCullers Jr. recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts, and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to four games with an 11-4 victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
McCullers (10-3) posted his fourth consecutive winning decision by dominating the White Sox throughout, save for a sudden spurt of vulnerability in the sixth inning. He struck out the side on just 12 pitches in the second inning and, after hitting White Sox catcher Kevan Smith with a pitch to open the third, produced three consecutive strikeouts to conclude that frame.
The White Sox did not record their first hit until there was one out in the sixth. Center fielder Adam Engel reached on an opposite-field single to right, preceding singles from Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez, the latter of which plated Engel and cut the Houston lead to 3-1. But McCullers rallied by inducing Jose Abreu to ground into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
McCullers returned for the seventh and retired the side in order, including back-to-back strikeouts of Daniel Palka and Matt Davidson to end his outing. McCullers did not issue a walk over seven innings. He had 16 swings and misses on his 58 curveballs.
White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-6) worked around baserunners in the first and second but surrendered a run-scoring single to first baseman Yuli Gurriel in the third and a two-run double to catcher Tim Federowicz in the fourth that upped the Houston lead to 3-0.
Lopez allowed three runs on six hits and five walks with two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.
Houston designated hitter Evan Gattis appeared to add a critical insurance run with his RBI double in the seventh, but the Astros broke it open with seven runs in the eighth off White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago. Gattis struck the big blow in that frame with a three-run home run to left, his 18th on the season.
Houston went 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
—Field Level Media