CHICAGO (AP) — Dallas Keuchel wasn’t hit hard, though he was hit often.
Keuchel labored through five innings in the Houston Astros’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night. He allowed four runs and 12 hits, which included 10 singles, before departing after 103 pitches.
“I’m not getting that big break that I need,” Keuchel said. “There were a lot of hits – singles – but that’s going to happen. I’m frustrated, but at the same time, I know that I’m making quality pitches. (The results) will turn.”
Keuchel (9-6) has seven of the Astros’ 19 road wins, and manager Bo Porter called him “our best pitcher in the first half of the season” before the game.
“I’m just disappointed that I didn’t help the team more than I should have,” Keuchel said. “I feel they lean on me to perform sometimes.”
Meanwhile, the Houston offense has yet to return from the All-Star break. Before Enrique Hernandez singled in the third inning, 29 consecutive batters had failed to reach base.
One inning later, George Springer led off with his 20th home run, one short of Lance Berkman’s record for an Astros rookie.
“This game is all about timing,” said Springer, whose parents were among those in attendance. “When you don’t see pitching of this caliber for three or four days, it can be tough. You just have to trust yourself. It will come back.”
Porter refused to blame the layoff.
“Every team in baseball had the same All-Star break, so that’s part of (the game),” he said. “The All-Star break is over. It’s time to play baseball.”
Tyler Flowers had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run for the second consecutive night with a fifth-inning double.
“I don’t know where (Flowers) went over the break, but you can come back with renewed energy,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said.
Starter Hector Noesi (4-7) gave up three runs in six innings. Zach Putnam got his third save in four tries and second in two nights after Jake Petricka allowed a walk and infield hit in the ninth inning.
The White Sox went ahead 1-0 in the second after three singles and an error.
Conor Gillaspie extended the lead to 2-0 with an RBI single in the third. Flowers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in another run.
The game featured three challenged calls and replay reviews totaling 5 minutes, 39 seconds. All were overturned.
In the third, Gordon Beckham appeared to be hit by a pitch, loading the bases. The Astros challenged the call, and review confirmed Beckham was not hit. He returned to the plate and struck out.
In the fourth, the White Sox’s Alexei Ramirez was called out on a grounder to third, but replay confirmed he was safe at first. Later in the inning, Jose Abreu was called safe at second on a fielder’s choice. The Astros challenged the call, and Abreu was ruled out.
NOTES: The White Sox optioned INF Carlos Sanchez to Triple-A Charlotte and will make a corresponding move on Sunday. .Abreu, who was leading the majors with 29 homers, is expected to play far more games than he did in Cuba, where he said teams play 96 games. He said he doesn’t expect fatigue to be an issue. Ventura noted Abreu can sometimes DH to allow for rest.