Sports

Astros return home to open set with White Sox

(SportsNetwork.com) - The American League West-leading Houston Astros return to Minute Maid Park on Friday night to face the Chicago White Sox for the first installment of a weekend series.

Houston is back home after wrapping up a 3-4 road trip, with three of those losses coming by one run. The Astros dropped two of three in Baltimore this week and had Thursday off to try and regroup from a 5-4 setback in Wednesday's rubber match.

Houston's Evan Gattis homered in the seventh inning to knot the score at 4-4. However, Chris Davis answered for Baltimore an inning later with his second homer of the game, this one off Tony Sipp.

"You want to have a winning road trip. It's too bad we didn't," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We battled hard in every game. I thought we played well in every game. We didn't play perfectly; we don't have to. I love the way our guys compete and I'm proud of the effort of our guys. A well-deserved day off (Thursday) and then a nice (seven-game) homestand. Get home to Houston and continue playing well."

Chicago is in the midst of an 11-game road trip. The team began the trip by dropping two of three in Toronto and then splitting a doubleheader with the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday.

The White Sox won the first game of the double bill, 3-2, but then lost the nightcap by a 6-3 final.

Chris Sale earned the win in the matinee with 12 strikeouts over 7 2/3 shutout innings. Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoceh each delivered RBI doubles in the sixth inning to spark the offense.

But in the second game, Chris Beck gave up four runs on 10 hits in his major league debut and Chicago's lineup was unable to back him up.

"Long day to get guys in there and play some positions," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But we could have played better in the second game."

Ventura will give the ball to Carlos Rodon, who will be making his fourth straight start since moving up from the bullpen. Rodon, the third pick in the 2014 Draft, allowed just one earned run on four hits over six innings of work against Cleveland on May 20.

Houston will turn to 21-year-old Lance McCullers, who has made a pair of starts since being called up from Double-A. McCullers earned his first win at Detroit in his last outing as he went six innings and allowed two runs while striking out six and walking one.

This is the first meeting of the season between these two clubs.