HOUSTON (AP) — Luis Robert Jr. and Yoan Moncada homered, Mike Clevinger pitched five shutout innings and the Chicago White Sox beat 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 home run in the ninth as Chicago won a four-game split opener.
Down 6-1, Houston closed out the ninth on RBI singles by José Abreu and David Hensley off Reynaldo López. New White Sox manager Pedro Grifol entered the field attempting to pay a visit to the mound, but the umpires conferred and turned him away because Chicago had reached its limit.
Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to umpire Bill Miller, apparently asking why the White Sox weren’t being penalized for trying to make too many trips to the mound.
Lopez came off the plate with Chas McCormick at the plate and a 1-2 count and was issued a balk for a third outing in violation of this year’s new rules. Lopez threw a ball, then retired McCormick on an infield pitch 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 one-year, $12 million contract, went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 appearances last season with San Diego.
Chicago left the bases loaded in the second and sixth, stranded runners at second and third in the fourth and went 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position with 12 remaining on base.
Luis Garcia (0-1) allowed three runs and seven hits over five innings. The Astros went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners.
Andrew Vaughn hit an RBI single in the sixth and scored on Oscar Colás’s double for a 3–0 lead.
Chas McCormick scored on a wild pitch by Gregory Santos 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 the third day in a row, the Astros handed out awards before a game. José 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 returned 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 undergo rehab before returning to the Astros. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (strained right arm) pitched again on level ground.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
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 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.
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