HOUSTON — Johnny Cueto pitched seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball for his first victory, and Luis Robert drove in four runs with a single and double, helping the White Sox to a 7-0 victory over the Astros Saturday.
The victory, the Sox’ first after seven consecutive losses at Minute Maid Park including two in the ALDS last season, evened the series and assured the Sox (31-32) of a winning road trip that began with a three-game sweep in Detroit. It was an about-face answer to a 13-3 drubbing the Sox took from Houston (40-25) on Friday night.
The Sox and their all-righty lineup peppered right-hander Justin Verlander (8-3) with eight hits in the first four innings, seven of them singles including a two-run base hit by Robert, followed by Jose Abreu’s two-run double in the third that staked Cueto to a 4-0 lead.
Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick and Andrew Vaughn started the inning with singles to load the bases. Vaughn singled three times, raising his average to .322.
After scoring four in the third inning, the Sox scored three in the fourth. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve let Vaughn’s sharp ground ball go between his legs for a costly two-out error, scoring the fifth run, and Robert doubled in two more runs to make it 7-0 and end Verlander’s afternoon. Three of the runs scored against Verlander (2.30 ERA), who was 7-2 with a 2.32 ERA over his previous 13 starts against the Sox, were unearned.
After allowing a single to Altuve leading off the first, Cueto (1-3) held the Astros hitless until Alex Bregman’s infield single leading off the seventh. Cueto then fielded Yordan Alvarez’ high chopper to start a double play,
Cueto struck out five and walked two, throwing 93 pitches and lowering his ERA to 2.95. He threw 77 pitches in five innings of emergency, voluntary relief of Michael Kopech on Sunday, giving up three runs against the Rangers.
Reynaldo Lopez completed the shutout with two innings of relief work.