Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros were leading by four runs and seemed ready to pop the corks on the way to the American League Championship Series.
However, Baker’s bullpen failed as they often do in October, as the Chicago White Sox extended the division series with a 12-6 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.
— Yirsandy Rodríguez (@Yirsandy) October 11, 2021
The game, and perhaps the series may have swung after a third inning rally, brought the White Sox back.
Baker’s starter Luery Garcia couldn’t take advantage of the lead and the Astros bullpen stoppers became a stimulus package for the frigid Chicago offense.
Major League Baseball’s top scoring offense, chased Chicago starting pitcher Dylan Cease after just 1 2/3 innings.
The Astros opened a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the third.
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 11, 2021
They temporarily pulled the plug on the electricity in the stadium thanks to Kyle Tucker’s double in the second and a two-run home run in the third that rendered the crowd silent after Tim Anderson gave the White Sox a lead in the first inning.
Chicago’s comeback was led by Yasmani Grandal who also blasted a three-run homer off Luis García during a five-run third inning.
That ended a stretch of 20 straight singles for the American League Central champs’ offense. It was the longest stretch in postseason history without an extra base hit according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
In the fourth inning Grandal hit a slow roller to first base on a changeup from Zack Greinke, who came on in relief.
He was hit on his left arm by the throw home from first baseman Yuli Gurriel, and it deflected past catcher Martín Maldonado and allowed a run to score.
“Clearly, he was running inside,” Baker said. “That’s interference, you know, in itself. That was a big play because we didn’t get an out. They scored a run and that was a big play in the inning.”
Their bullpen, which is a significant advantage in the series for the White Sox, came up big against the Astros. They kept Houston scoreless for the rest of the night and perhaps swung the momentum of the series.
There are only 15 hours between the end of game three and the start of game four. Baker’s cool hand will be tested if the Astros hope to close the series in Chicago instead of a winner take all game five Wednesday.