Astros explode for five runs in seventh, take 2-0 series lead over White Sox

Oct. 8 (UPI) — The Houston Astros used a five-run seventh inning to catapult themselves to a 9-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday at Minute Maid Park, taking a 2-0 lead in their American League Division Series.

Kyle Tucker homered and had three RBIs as the Astros moved just one win away from their fifth consecutive appearance in the AL Championship Series. Alex Bregman had two hits and scored twice, while Carlos Correa also scored twice and drove in two runs.

Game 3 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Sunday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

“They’ve been here before and they’ve experienced it,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of his club. “Belief is a big part of this game and belief will take you a long, long ways. And these guys as a unit, they believe.”

The White Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Eloy Jimenez scored Luis Robert on a fielder’s choice. Houston, however, responded in the bottom of the second when Kyle Tucker and Chas McCormick each plated runs to give the Astros a 2-1 advantage.

Not to be outdone, the White Sox answered with three runs in the top of the fifth for a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Yuli Gurriel’s two-RBI single leveled the score at four runs apiece.

The Astros took the lead for good when Yordan Alvarez singled home Jose Altuve in the bottom of the seventh, a decisive five-run inning for the 2017 World Series champions. Tucker punctuated the victory with a two-run homer to left, lifting the Astros to a 9-4 lead.

“They’re really good, but I thought we played really well, too,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “But they played better — just enough.”

Astros starter Framber Valdez allowed four runs and seven hits across 4 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one, with reliever Ryne Stanek getting credit for the win.

Lucas Giolito started for the White Sox and also lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs and three hits. He had four strikeouts but walked five. Aaron Bummer was given the loss.

Luis Garcia is set to take the mound for the Astros in Game 3 of the series. The White Sox have yet to name a starter for that contest.

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