Houston starts the second half strong

Astros exit All-Star break with dominant win over White Sox

Houston's offense came out of the All-Star break firing on all cylinders. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After an incredibly exciting end to the first half of the season with the magical walk-off win over the Yankees in Houston, the Astros started their first series out of the All-Star break in Chicago to face the White Sox. Despite falling behind a run in the first inning, the rest of the game was dominated by Houston as they would pick up the win.

Final Score: Astros 7, White Sox 1

Astros' Record: 56-36, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (7-2)

Losing Pitcher: Dylan Cease (7-5)

McCullers Jr. moves past early trouble for a stellar start

Lance McCullers Jr.'s night started about as bad as it could have, with his first two pitches getting turned around for a leadoff triple and RBI double, giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead. He rebounded quickly and effectively, sitting down the next three batters to end that inning, then erased one walk each in the second and third. The walk in the third would be the last batter to reach base against him, as he would go on to retire thirteen in a row to get through seven innings of one-run baseball while notching a season-high ten strikeouts. His final line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 94 P.

Houston takes and builds the lead

After the early run by Chicago, the Astros turned the offensive momentum to their favor in the top of the third. They loaded the bases with two outs, setting up Yuli Gurriel for a two-RBI double to go in front 2-1. Michael Brantley doubled the lead to two runs in the top of the fifth, sneaking a solo homer just inside the foul pole with two outs, making it 3-1.

They then blew it open in the top of the seventh against the White Sox bullpen, getting runners on second and third with two outs before Kyle Tucker would bring in a run on an infield single, his 50th RBI of the year. After Abraham Toro loaded the bases by being hit by a pitch, Myles Straw plated all three runners with a bases-clearing double, pushing the lead to 7-1.

Astros start the second half with a win

Bryan Abreu took over on the mound out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. He, like McCullers Jr. before him, kept Chicago off the bases with a 1-2-3 inning on three groundouts. That left the ninth for Andre Scrubb, and despite allowing a leadoff single, was able to erase it to wrap up the dominant six-run win for the Astros to come out of the All-Star break with a win.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will start at 6:15 PM Central on Saturday. Chicago will send Lucas Giolito (7-6, 4.15 ERA) to the mound, and Houston will counter with Jake Odorizzi (3-4, 3.61 ERA).

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