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Johnny Cueto Leads The Way as White Sox Trounce Astros 7-0

The White Sox topped the Astros on Saturday afternoon behind a dominant performance from Johnny Cueto.

Johnny Cueto Chicago White Sox Houston Astros
Photo: AP Photos

Houston Astros’ veteran right-hander Justin Verlander entered Saturday as a potential Cy Young candidate in the American League. He carried a 1.94 ERA and a WHIP below one to go with his 8-2 record. Verlander faced the Chicago White Sox three times total in 2018 and 2019 and allowed just three earned runs in 21 innings across three starts. But the Sox offense and Johnny Cueto had other plans in Verlander’s first start against Chicago since 2019. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it certainly did feel perfect as the White Sox defeated the Astros 7-0.

Dia De Cueto

Johnny Cueto has been a revelation for the White Sox. The crafty righty has provided stability to the back end of the rotation, giving length from the starting spot that has been missing all year. He has gone at least six innings in all six of his starts.

And he stepped up in a big spot once again on Saturday. The Sox were coming off an ugly 13-3 loss against these same Astros on Friday night and in need of a spark. Cueto set the tone by pitching seven shutout innings. The 36-year-old’s five-pitch mix of a fastball, sinker, cutter, slider, and changeup kept Houston hitters off-balance all game. His trademark ability to vary his timing to the plate and throw those pictures in any count with command was simply dominant.

Cueto surrendered just two hits and two walks in his seven innings of work. He struck out five and, of course, allowed no runs. Reynaldo Lopez was solid in two innings of relief, allowing one hit to go with three strikeouts.

Offense Bounces Back

The South Siders opened the scoring in the third inning with four runs. White Sox hitters employed a great plate approach, looking to go the other way against Verlander. They sat on his fastballs and laid off his elite secondary pitches.

Four consecutive singles by Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Andrew Vaughn, and Luis Robert plated the first two runs. The White Sox did not stop there as Jose Abreu brought home Vaughn and Robert with a double.

In the fourth inning, three unearned runs crossed home plate for the Pale Hose. With two on and two out, Andrew Vaughn’s grounder got through the legs of Astros’ second baseman Jose Altuve. The error scored Josh Harrison, and Luis Robert followed with a double to plate Vaughn and Adam Engel.

Those seven runs combined in the third and fourth were more than enough for the White Sox to secure the win despite only recording two hits the rest of the game.

Notes

Justin Verlander allowed five hits in an inning for the first time since 2017.

Verlander moved up to 16th on the all-time strikeout list.

Yoan Moncada will have an MRI on his hamstring on Saturday.

Houston’s Aledmys Diaz left the game after fice innings due to shoulder discomfort.

What’s On Tap Next?

It’s a Sunday Night Baseball showdown between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros. Michael Kopech will take the hill for the Sox to face Houston’s Cristian Javier in the rubber match of the three-game series. Kopech left his last start in the first inning after experiencing knee discomfort but feels ready to go for the series finale. First pitch from Minute Made Park is at 6:08 PM CT and the game will air on ESPN.

Tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further White Sox commentary all season.

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