Three of the most maligned White Sox players this season carried their club to a win Saturday night.
Alejandro De Aza, Tyler Flowers and Ronald Belisario all played key roles in the White Sox 4-3 win over Houston in front of 28,210 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
De Aza and Flowers combined to go 5-6, with Flowers doubling in De Aza -- on third base after a one-out triple -- for what turned out to be the winning run in the fifth inning. Flowers added two other singles and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to complete a three-hit, two-RBI night.
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"I'm really trying to take the positive out of things -- there are so many negatives, especially from my offensive season thus far," Flowers said. "I just can't get caught up in it, so stay positive. Priority one, swing at strikes, take balls. I think that's helped me a fair bit as far as being able to put balls in play as far as increasing your chances of getting hits. I was able to take advantage of a few mistakes recently."
The White Sox banged out 12 hits against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, who entered the game with a 3.20 ERA. The 26-year-old lefty, who leads the American League with three complete games, only managed five erratic innings against the White Sox.
De Aza scored the White Sox first run on a throwing error by Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, and Conor Gillaspie added an RBI single in the third. The White Sox weren't able to pull away despite knocking Keuchel around, setting up a tough few innings for the club's bullpen.
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Javy Guerra allowed back-to-back singles to begin the seventh and was pulled for Belisario, who proceeded to put out the fire with alacrity. Gonzalez bunted to put the go-ahead run on second with contact machine Jose Altuve up, but Belisario struck out the diminutive second baseman and, following an intentional walk to Jason Castro, got rookie George Springer to ground out to end the threat.
Belisario fired a 1-2-3 eighth inning as well to complete his solid evening.
"I think that's a comfortable spot for him -- that seventh, eighth inning is something he's always been," manager Robin Ventura said. "He comes back and he looks like he's throwing a little harder, the ball's moving a lot. His confidence is right there with it."
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The White Sox ran into more trouble in the ninth as Houston put the first two men on base against Jake Petricka. But after the right-hander struck out Altuve -- who entered the night with the second-lowest strikeout rate among qualified major league hitters -- for the second out, Ventura turned to Zach Putnam for a one-out save.
Putnam delivered, striking out Castro with the tying run on second to nail down the win.
"I wasn’t necessarily expecting that," Putnam said. "I have every faith Petricka could have closed that out but I’m happy for the opportunity."