HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch has been pumping up Brad Peacock as a legitimate option for the team's rotation in the postseason, and the right-hander delivered the biggest statement in his favor Wednesday night.
Peacock won his 12th game of the season -- surpassing his Major League total of 11 wins entering this season -- by firing six innings of one-hit ball to lead the American League West-champion Astros to their sixth consecutive win, 4-3, over the White Sox at Minute Maid Park. The win kept Houston 1 1/2 games behind the Indians for the best record in the AL.
"I don't think he was particularly sharp, which is funny to say for a guy that gave up one hit," Hinch said of Peacock. "But he did battle through his outing and didn't give up very many hard hits. He got a couple of punchouts. There were a few walks in there that were a little uncharacteristic of him, but he's a winning pitcher and really does a good job of navigating some things. ... Another good outing because Brad Peacock is pretty good."
Peacock (12-2, 2.98 ERA) is the third pitcher in franchise history to make at least 20 starts and 10 relief appearances in the same season with an ERA lower than 3.00. He is the first AL pitcher to achieve those numbers in a season since Wayne Garland in 1976.
"It's been crazy," Peacock said. "It's been awesome. I"m just glad I'm healthy and feeling good out there. That was the key, you know, just feeling good every start and not having to worry about if my back is going to hurt every night. I got the surgery done [back surgery in August 2015] and feel good every start."
The Astros reached 93 wins for the sixth time in franchise history while moving to a season-high 35 games over .500 -- their most over .500 since they were 91-56 on Sept. 14, 1999.
Peacock (12-2) retired the first nine batters he faced before walking Yolmer Sanchez in the fourth inning. Yoan Moncada ripped a two-run homer to right on the next pitch -- a slider -- to put the White Sox ahead, 2-1.
The Astros took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on Yuli Gurriel's two-out, two-run double. White Sox starter James Shields (4-7) allowed three runs, six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
"It was a grinder," Shields said. "I wasn't getting ahead of hitters, but that's a good ballclub over there. One through nine, they're solid and there's a reason they're winning ballgames. They work the counts, they didn't give in to any of my pitches and they made me work."
Right-hander Joe Musgrove recorded the final four outs for Houston to notch his second save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Clutch Yuli: Gurriel set the franchise single-season rookie record with his 57th extra-base hit with his two-run, go-ahead double into the right-center field gap in the fourth inning. He surpassed the previous record of 56 set by Hunter Pence in 2007. Gurriel's 38 doubles are the most by an AL rookie since Dustin Pedroia (39) and Delmon Young (38), also in 2007.
Gurriel's 69 RBIs are tied for second-most by an Astros rookie. More >>
Super Joe: Musgrove, who began the season in the rotation, continued to entrench himself as a lockdown reliever. Musgrove pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for a save, striking out Moncada swinging on a 97-mph fastball to strand the potential tying run at third in the eighth and striking out Omar Narvaez swinging to end the game on a 95-mph sinker to strand the tying run at second.
"Every time coming out of the bullpen I'm trying to strike out everybody, to be honest," Musgrove said. "Sometimes it doesn't quite get there, but I feel like the mentality behind that is a better chance for me to get the guy out than kind of just place stuff and be too perfect with it."
"We're playing really hard, and these guys aren't taking any game for granted. I love how we're into the game. We're doing just enough to win. We haven't been perfect or perfectly sharp, but these guys are playing hard." -- Hinch
GREGERSON SHAKES OFF LINER
Astros reliever Luke Gregerson stayed in the game after taking a line drive off the heel of his glove hand in the seventh. X-rays were negative.
AVISAIL LEAVES EARLY
White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia left the game after the third inning with stomach discomfort. He was replaced by Alen Hanson, who made a sliding catch to rob Carlos Correa of a potential RBI hit to end the fifth inning.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Carson Fulmer will be making his fourth start of 2017, second on the road, and first in his career against Houston in the series finale Thursday night. Over his past two starts, the right-hander allowed two runs over 12 innings with 14 strikeouts.
Astros: Lefty Dallas Keuchel (13-4, 2.96 ERA) will be making his final home regular-season start of 2017 in Thursday's 7:10 p.m. CT series finale at Minute Maid Park. He is 6-2 with a 2.19 ERA in 10 home starts this year. Preview >>