CHICAGO – There was magic in the air on Sunday that the home team hoped would carry over to another elimination game on Tuesday.
That was still the case even when the White Sox fell behind by a few runs in the middle innings of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against Houston. After all, the team erased a four-run deficit to win by six in that Game 3 to keep their season alive.
But such a comeback wasn’t going to happen twice against a playoff-experience Houston team, and when they started growing the lead, they didn’t let the White Sox get back up this time.
Up 5-1 like they were on Sunday, the Astros added two more runs as their pitchers shut down White Sox hitters in a 10-1 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday afternoon. With the loss, Houston captured the series 3-1 and ended the best season for the south siders in 13 years with a letdown.
For a second-consecutive season, the White Sox failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs and have now lost three straight postseason series dating back to 2008. The last win came, oddly enough, against the Astros in the 2005 World Series, when they won their first championship in 88 years.
That championship drought will now reach 17 years as Tony La Russa’s club couldn’t find the formula to knock off Houston.
Gavin Sheets gave the White Sox a lead for a third consecutive game in the ALDS with a long homer to center in the second inning, but starter Carlos Rodon couldn’t hold it. With strong velocity behind his pitches, throwing as high as 99, Rodon walked two in the third inning with two outs then allowed the go-ahead double to Carlos Correa to make it 2-1.
With the bullpen taking over at the end of the third and into the fourth, the Astros built the lead, first getting a go-ahead single from Martin Maldonado off Michael Kopech with two out to make it 3-1. Garrett Crochet then surrendered a double to left-center that expanded the Houston lead to 5-1, marking the fourth-straight game which the Astros took at least a four-run lead.
Unlike Sunday, however, the White Sox had no response against Lance McCullers and the Houston bullpen. McCullers only surrendered the second inning homer before leaving after four innings with a collection of Astros’ relievers keeping the home team off the scoreboard.
Four pitchers combined to allow just one hit and no walks from the fifth through the eighth inning as the White Sox could never mount a rally.
Meanwhile, Houston kept on adding to their lead, with RBI singles by Michael Brantley in the sixth and the eighth inning expanding the lead to 7-1. Jose Altuve, who was booed heavily the last two games by fans, blasting a three-run homer to left to finish off the offensive output.