The Houston Astros have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series after a 9-4 Game 2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
With the game tied 4-4 in the seventh, the Astros came through with a five-run inning to blow the game open.
Kyle Tucker had the biggest hit with a two-run home run, finishing with three RBI in the game. Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel also stepped up with two RBI each in the win.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision as Lucas Giolito and Framber Valdez each allowed four runs while exiting in the fifth inning. It led to a competitive battle with several lead changes and momentum swings.
The Astros eventually came out on top with clutch hitting and a bullpen that allowed zero runs in 4.2 innings.
Houston is now one win away from clinching the series, although the two teams will head to Chicago for the next two games.
Luis Robert, CF, CHI: 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 R
Jose Abreu, 1B, CHI: 2-for-4, 1 RBI
Lucas Giolito, SP, CHI: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 5 BB
Kyle Tucker, RF, HOU: 2-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 R
Carlos Correa, SS, HOU: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R
Framber Valdez, SP, HOU: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 6 K, 1 BB
Top of the Order Production Not Enough for White Sox
Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu combined to go 8-for-13 on Friday, which is usually a good indicator of team success.
Robert was especially impressive, thriving as both a table-setter and run-producer with two runs and an RBI.
MLB Stats @MLBStats
At 24 years old, Luis Robert is the youngest <a href="https://twitter.com/whitesox?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WhiteSox</a> hitter to record a 3-hit <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/postseason?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#postseason</a> game. <a href="https://t.co/b27V1xk6U0">pic.twitter.com/b27V1xk6U0</a>
Abreu also had a key RBI single in the fifth inning to give Chicago a lead. His effort has been clutch despite his illness during the week:
Larry Hawley @HawleySports
That's an MVP: Despite dealing with the flu this week, Jose Abreu had four hits in a game-and-a-half with 2 RBI, helping the White Sox build a 4-2 Game 2 lead over the Astros in the fifth inning. <a href="https://twitter.com/WGNNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WGNNews</a> <a href="https://t.co/QLxn94U4KR">pic.twitter.com/QLxn94U4KR</a>
It simply wasn't enough to keep up with Houston.
The rest of the order combined for just three hits, failing to extend rallies that could have put the White Sox in a better position for a win.
The pitching staff had its own problems, most notably another implosion by Craig Kimbrel out of the bullpen:
Chicago has a lot of talent, but the players ultimately didn't perform well enough to beat a good team. It means an 0-2 deficit even with the 1-2-3 in the lineup performing at a high level.
No Quit in Dominant Astros Lineup
Houston led the majors in runs scored this season, and the squad remains difficult to put away in the postseason.
Despite trailing multiple times during Friday's game, the Astros remained patient at the plate to draw walks and put players in scoring position. The team then scored runs thanks to timely hitting throughout the day:
MLB Network @MLBNetwork
The <a href="https://twitter.com/astros?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@astros</a> plated 2⃣ in the bottom of the 2nd to pull ahead! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a><br><br>📺 <a href="https://t.co/tmrbR6Aud6">https://t.co/tmrbR6Aud6</a> <a href="https://t.co/DupthPwlca">pic.twitter.com/DupthPwlca</a>
It took Yuli Gurriel seven at-bats to get his first hit of the postseason, but it was a big one that drove in two runs in the fifth inning.
Two innings later, the offense came alive again with a five-run explosion that took the lead and effectively sealed the win.
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Doesn't matter if you're right-handed, left-handed, hard-throwing, soft-tossing, fastball-heavy, spin-centric. The Astros hit everything. Their offense is top-to-bottom marvelous, and they're going to be a tough out this October. About to take a two-games-to-none lead on Chicago.
Yordan Alvarez got the go-ahead RBI, but it was No. 6 hitter Carlos Correa who had the two-RBI double while No. 7 hitter Kyle Tucker extended the lead with a two-run home run.
There are simply too many options in this deep lineup for opposing teams to stop.
Jose Altuve also did his part with some outstanding defense to go with his two runs scored, making it a complete effort from one of the top teams in the majors.
After an off-day Saturday, the series returns Sunday with Game 3 from Guaranteed Rate Field. Luis Garcia is expected to start for the Astros while the White Sox will either use Carlos Rodon or Dylan Cease.