Loss has Astros 2 1/2 back of AL's best mark

Loss has Astros 2 1/2 back of AL's best mark

HOUSTON -- The White Sox pushed across runs on a bases-loaded walk in the second inning and a bases-loaded double play in the third, and seven relievers stifled the Astros' offense to lead the White Sox to a 3-1 win Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 2 1/2 games behind the Indians in their hunt for the best record in the American League. Houston's nine-game home winning streak was also halted.

White Sox starter Carson Fulmer left the game in the first inning with a blister, and Chris Volstad came out of the bullpen and threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run and three hits. He set a career high for relief innings and recorded his first win since Sept. 10, 2012, against Houston.

Astros starter Dallas Keuchel (13-5) battled his control early, issuing a bases-loaded walk to Rymer Liriano in the second and walking Yoan Moncada to start the third and allowing him to score.

Liriano's bases-loaded walk

The only run the Astros managed came in the third when catcher Brian McCann hit an upper-deck homer to right field to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1. Tim Anderson homered in the eighth off Francis Martes to push the lead to 3-1.

McCann sets mark as 8th Astro with 15 HRs

"That was a team win," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "The bullpen were the heroes of the night. We scored enough runs against a great team to hold them off."

The top five hitters in Houston's lineup went 0-for-17. The Astros never managed another hit after McCann's third-inning homer as the White Sox had six relievers record the final 21 outs without allowing a hit.

"It's September baseball in a nutshell," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They've got so many relievers out there and they can mix and match and then their guys come in and throw well and get some matchups they like. We didn't to a ton after the first time through the order. We drew a couple of walks. Just an off night for our offense."

Hinch on 3-1 loss to White Sox

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Volstad to the rescue: Fulmer left with a blister on his right index finger after issuing consecutive one-out walks in the first to Josh Reddick and Jose Altuve. Volstad entered the game and promptly got Carlos Correa to hit into a 5-4-3 double play that ended Houston's rally. Volstad sent down the final eight batters he faced after McCann's homer.

Volstad gets DP, strands two

"Before the game started, [Fulmer] was dealing with issues," Volstad said. "I was heading out to the 'pen like normal, and [Renteria] just said be ready and stay loose, and try to be ready to get in there early."

Keuchel escapes big trouble: After the White Sox managed only one run after loading the bases in the second, they loaded up again in the third against Keuchel, this time with no outs. The lefty got Kevan Smith to hit into a 6-4-3 double play -- Moncada scored from third to put Chicago ahead, 2-0 -- and then struck out Tyler Saladino. The double play was the beginning of a stretch in which Keuchel sent down 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

Moncada scores on a double play

"It was nice to limit the damage, but at the same time I felt there was a lot of mis-hit balls, which in turn makes me have to be better at my job," Keuchel said. "If one or two balls are in play earlier, I have more of an advantage."

Keuchel strands the bases loaded

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros lost when the opposing starting pitcher recorded one out or fewer for the first time since July 15, 1994, against Pittsburgh's Denny Neagle.

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: The White Sox begin their final homestand Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT with the opener of a three-game series against Kansas City. It's a rematch from earlier this month between right-handers Reynaldo Lopez and Jason Hammel. On Sept. 11, Lopez defeated the Royals and Hammel, 11-3.

Astros: Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.50 ERA), who pitched in Sunday's division-clinching win, makes his fourth start, and second at home, in Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Verlander is 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA in his first three starts with Houston.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the White Sox on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.