Astros 8, White Sox 3
Injuries and illness slowed down Jed Lowrie during his first four years with the Boston Red Sox. Now with a new team, the fresh start has energized him and he's become a major force for the Houston Astros.
Lowrie, who entered the season with 19 career homers, hit his 11th of the season - one of three by the Astros on Friday night - and Houston came into U.S. Cellular Field and beat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 in the opener of an interleague series.
''To go through a lot of the stuff I have over the last four years, you have to believe in yourself,'' Lowrie said. ''I've always known that I could be this type of player. It's been fun so far, I just hope to continue that and stick to that same approach.''
Brett Wallace and Brian Bogusevic also homered and four Houston relievers didn't allow a run over the final 3 2-3 innings.
Houston, which lost 14-2 to St. Louis on Thursday, won for just the third time in the last 13 games. Chicago lost for the fourth time in 15 games.
''We had a long one last night and got in early this morning. We showed up and just took batting practice in the cage today, just tried to give everybody's legs a rest,'' said Lowrie, who has three homers in his last seven games. `And I think the results spoke for themselves tonight.''
Lowrie's homer, following a two-out walk to Jordan Schafer, gave the Astros a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning. Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (4-6) , who has given up six homers in his last two starts, walked two, threw two wild pitches and struck out nine over six innings.
Wallace had a solo shot off Floyd in the second, and Bogusevic delivered a three-run homer in the ninth off Will Ohman.
''The ball goes flying out of here,'' Floyd said. ''I just have to make better pitches to those guys who are hot, especially Lowrie.''
Bogusevic, who started his career in the Astros organization as a pitcher before converting in 2008, had done some mopup duty in the loss Thursday night, giving up a homer. This time he made his mark late in the game with a homer of his own.
''Last night was a tough night for us,'' said Bogusevic, who was born in Oak Lawn, Ill. ''That's the good thing about baseball is you can have a game like that and turn around and all of a sudden you're in another one. It was nice to flush it out and get a win right away.''
Wandy Rodriguez (5-4) gave up nine hits and three runs in 5 1-3 innings.
The White Sox had several early opportunities against Rodriguez, finally breaking through a with a run in the fifth on Alejandro De Aza's double, a fly ball that moved him to third and Adam Dunn's hard RBI grounder that Houston second baseman Jose Altuve flagged down in shallow right with a nice stop and threw to first in time.
Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski doubled to start the sixth to make it 4-2, Pierzynski moved up on a grounder and scored on Alexei Ramirez's infield single, finishing Rodriguez and cutting the lead to one. Rodriguez gave up nine hits and three runs in 5 1-3 innings.
The Astros tagged on a run in the seventh when a single by Justin Maxwell and an error on Chicago shortstop Ramirez put runners at the corners. Altuve got caught leaving first base early, but in the rundown, Maxwell raced home from third with Houston's fifth run.
''We've just got to be more heads up and be able to see him take off,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''We were sloppy defensively. We're going to get better.''
Wesley Wright came out of the bullpen to replace Wilton Lopez with runners at second and third in the seventh and retired Pierzynski on a grounder.
Altuve led off the game with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Lowrie's sacrifice fly. Wallace led off the second with his first homer. In his last five starts, Floyd has yielded 29 earned runs in 25 2-3 innings. And in that span, he's surrendered 10 homers.
''It's location. Maybe the count, you fall behind. You give a guy the ability to sit on it and go after a fastball and it's going to happen,'' Ventura said. ''It's just his location needs to be better when they're in hitter's counts.''
Notes: Chicago LF Dayan Viciedo left the game after five innings with tightness in both hamstrings and was replaced by Jordan Danks. ... Astros 3B Chris Johnson left after six innings because of nausea and was replaced by Brian Bixler ... Rodriguez of the Astros and Paul Konerko and Pierzynski of the White Sox are the only remaining players from the 2005 World Series between the teams that saw Chicago pull off a four-game sweep. ... White Sox 3B Brent Morel, who had been on a rehab assignment at Charlotte, pulled himself out of a game Thursday and will be examined in Chicago. Morel's been on the DL with a strained lower back. ... The Astros placed SS Marwin Gonzalez (heel bruise) on the 15-day DL after Thursday's 14-2 loss to the Cardinals and recalled Bixler from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday.