Ivan Nova stays on roll, White Sox gain doubleheader split with Astros
The White Sox probably caught a break in Game 2 of their doubleheader with the Astros Tuesday when right-hander Gerrit Cole was scratched from his start.
The Astros might have caught an even bigger break had Ivan Nova been scratched.
The Sox veteran right-hander improved to 4-0 record with 0.49 ERA in his last five starts by pitching nine innings of one-run ball — the only Astros run scored against him in the third inning was unearned — in a 4-1 victory giving the Sox a doubleheader split Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Astros won the first game 6-2.
Cole, 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA, halted his pregame warmup when he felt discomfort in his right hamstring. The Sox scored three runs in the second against right-hander Chris Devenski, a former Sox draft pick, on an RBI single by Adam Engel and two-run single by Ryan Goins.
Ryan Cordell doubled home Yolmer Sanchez against Joe Biagini in the fourth.
Nova retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced, allowed four hits and no walks and struck out three. He lowered his ERA to 4.51.
It was Nova’s second complete game of the season and 10th of his career.
The Sox improved to 53-64. The Astros are 77-42.
Garcia misses third straight game
Leury Garcia has a bruised right index finger from a slide into third base, Renteria revealed before the doubleheader. Garcia, who did not start either game Tuesday, was said to be “under the weather” when he was scratched from the lineup Sunday but he missed his third straight start.
Garcia had reached base safely in a career-high 20 consecutive games.
Status quo for Moncada
Renteria offered no update on third baseman Yoan Moncada, who has been out with a strained right hamstring since July 31. Moncada was on the field early doing running exercises with director of conditioning Allen Thomas.
“He continues to improve but I really don’t have a window for you today,” Renteria said.
Last in walks
Entering Tuesday, the Sox were tied with the Marlins for last in the majors with 273 walks, far from the Dodgers who were first with 458. The Sox walked twice in Game 1, while the Astros walked 10 times (two intentional).
“The walk is a byproduct of a pretty good at-bat and staying in the zone,” Renteria said. “Guys sometimes have a tendency to get a little excited, everything speeds up and they start chasing outside the zone. The walk in and of itself, you’re not going to tell somebody take seven pitches and you’ll be on first.”
Moncada is the team leader with 31. Tim Anderson is last among Sox regulars with nine.
The Sox were eighth in strikeouts with 1,115, also led by Moncada with 113.
This and that
Anderson’s throwing error, his major league leading 20th error of the season, led to an Astros unearned run in Game 2.
*The doubleheader necessitates a spot start from Hector Santiago will likely be needed the next time through the rotation, Renteria said.
*Lucas Giolito ranks fifth in the American League with an average of 11.26 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be the second-best mark in Sox history among qualifying pitchers behind Chris Sale (11.82) in 2015.