One night after hitting his first career home run against a left-handed pitcher, Houston catcher Jason Castro recorded his second, smacking a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Astros' 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
With the Houston bullpen clinging to a one-run lead for a third consecutive game, Castro provided insurance with his shot against left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. The home run, his 10th, ricocheted off the left-field foul pole and lifted Houston (26-44) to a 5-2 advantage.
The Astros' bats had been largely silent since their three-run burst in the second inning. With the bases loaded in the second, third baseman Matt Dominguez ripped the first pitch from White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago (2-5) into the left-field corner, clearing the bases. Right fielder Trevor Crowe had set the table with a determined 10-pitch at-bat that yielded a one-out walk.
Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-3) worked five scoreless innings before surrendering triples in the sixth and seventh, both of which the White Sox (28-38) converted into runs. Alejandro De Aza stroked a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored when Alexi Ramirez followed with a sacrifice fly to center field. In the seventh, Dayan Viciedo tripled and scored when Jeff Keppinger singled to left field, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Keuchel was lifted in favor of right-hander Jose Cisnero, who then loaded the bases before striking out De Aza and inducing a harmless chopper back to the mound from Ramirez. With two outs in the eighth, left-hander Travis Blackley fanned Adam Dunn with Alex Rios at second.
Astros closer Jose Veras recorded his 14th save, and his third of the series, despite allowing a two-run, two-out homer to De Aza in the ninth inning. The White Sox have dropped 12 of 13 road games, setting an ominous tone for a 10-game road trip that will wind through Minnesota and Kansas City before concluding on June 23.
Cisnero, Blackley and Veras preserved the Astros' 2-1 win Friday night.
NOTES: According to Elias Sports Bureau, when Veras picked off Jordan Danks to end Saturday night's game, it marked the first time in franchise history that a game ended with an Astros pitcher picking off a base runner. ... With their 12th loss in 13 road games, the White Sox fell to 10 games under .500 for the first time since May 7, 2011.