CHICAGO (AP) – Ivan Nova tossed a four-hitter and the Chicago White Sox took advantage of an injury to Houston ace Gerrit Cole for a 4-1 win and split of their doubleheader on Tuesday.
Houston won the first game 6-2 behind six solid innings from Zack Greinke in his second start with the Astros and solo home runs by George Springer and Jose Altuve.
Cole, 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA, was listed on the lineup for the nightcap, but the right-hander didn’t start because of right hamstring discomfort. He was set to try for his 11th straight win. Instead, righty Chris Devenski (2-1) took the mound and lasted just two innings in taking the loss.
Nova (8-9) limited high-scoring Houston to one unearned run and walked none in his second complete game this season and 10th of his career as he improved to 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts. After hitting Carlos Correa with a pitch in the fourth, the right-hander retired 16 straight batters.
Ryan Goins drove in two runs with a single to cap Chicago’s three-run second inning. Ryan Cordell doubled in a run and Adam Engel added an RBI single.
Devenski allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits in his first start of the season and seventh of his career. His error on Cordell’s grounder down the first-base line in the second helped set up Chicago’s rally.
Three Astros relievers – Joe Biagini, Hector Rondon and Joe Smith – followed and allowed one run the rest of the way.
Springer drove in the lone run for the Astros in the second game after connecting on the first pitch of the day then throwing out a runner at the plate from right field in the opener.
Springer said he was ready for an opening fastball from hard-throwing White Sox rookie Dylan Cease. He sent a 467-foot shot to the back of the left-field stands.
“The only uncertainty was how hard it was going to be,” Springer said. “Obviously, it was going to be anywhere from 94 to 98 (mph). I just decided to swing.”
Greinke was close to the form the Astros hoped for when they traded for the right-hander to create an imposing rotation, including Cole.
But he says he still needs to work on a few things.
“My off-speed command was pretty good, but my fastball command is still a work in progress,” Greinke said.
Greinke (12-4) allowed two runs on seven hits in winning for the second time since Houston acquired him from Arizona in a deal at the trade deadline. The 35-year-old struck out six, walked two and hit a batter in a 102-pitch outing that was sharper than his Astros debut last week when he allowed five runs in six innings to Colorado.
Greinke yielded a three-run homer with two outs in the sixth to Raimel Tapia against the Rockies last Tuesday. In this one, he kept the White Sox in the park – and mostly in check – as he was backed by solid defense.
Will Harris, Ryan Pressly, and Collin McHugh each followed Greinke with a perfect inning.
Robinson Chirinos drove in two runs late with a pair of singles.
Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu drove in runs with doubles as Chicago came back to tie it from an early 2-0 deficit.
The Astros took the lead for good in the sixth when Yordan Alvarez scored an unearned run on the first of three passed balls charged to Welington Castillo.
Making his seventh start, Cease (2-5) allowed four runs in six-plus innings. The rookie right-hander yielded five hits and walked five.
Tuesday’s straight doubleheader was scheduled after Monday night’s game was postponed by rain.