Houston, TX – Jason Castro hit a two-run homer and Matt Dominguez added a three-run double to help the Houston Astros earn a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the third test of a four-game set at Minute Maid Park.
Dallas Keuchel (4-3) tossed 6 1/3 strong innings and allowed two runs on four hits for Houston, winners of four straight.
Chicago starter Hector Santiago (2-5) allowed three runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings, though he did strike out eight in the setback.
Jeff Keppinger drove in one run for the White Sox, who have lost four straight overall and 12 of their last 13 away from home.
"It's not like we're being blown out," said Santiago. "It's one-run games. You get one hit and it's a different ballgame."
Jose Veras took the hill for Houston holding a 5-2 advantage in the top of the ninth. The righty looked to work around a one-out single and eventually a runner on second with two outs, but Alejandro De Aza waited for Veras' breaking ball offering and crushed it over right-center field wall to bring the White Sox within 5-4.
Veras collected himself, though, and forced Alexei Ramirez to ground out to end the game and earn his 14th save of the season.
"We've put ourselves in a position to win four straight against a team, and that's a strong statement." Houston manager Bo Porter said.
Houston jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Santiago labored in the second, allowing a one-out single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Dominguez followed with a bases-clearing double to left.
Chicago finally found the board in the sixth, as De Aza smacked a leadoff triple and easily scored on Ramirez's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
One inning later, Keuchel ran into the same trouble. He allowed another leadoff triple, this time to Dayan Viciedo, but regrouped and fanned Adam Dunn. However, his last batter faced, Keppinger, singled through the left side to close the gap to 3-2.
The situation got worse for Houston's Jose Cisnero, who allowed a single to Gordon Beckham and walked pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie to load the bases. Cisnero managed to save himself and the Astros, though, by retiring De Aza with a strikeout and forcing Ramirez to ground out to end the inning.
In the seventh, Castro provided some much-needed insurance with a two-run blast. Jose Altuve reached on an infield single with one down and Matt Thornton came in for the White Sox in relief. After Altuve stole second, Castro hit a 1-2 offering down the left-field line and over the wall, extending the lead to 5-2 and proving to be huge difference in the long run.
De Aza finished 2-for-5 and scored twice ... Houston went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six on base ... Keuchel threw 92 total pitches, including 58 for strikes.