Astros defeat White Sox 4-3, Matijevic hits first career homer
June 20, 2022
The Houston Astros defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Sunday night thanks to a home run by rookie J.J. Matijevic and a two-run shot by Mauricio Dubón.
Following a 7-0 shutout on Saturday, the Astros won the series 2-1. With the win, Houston manager Dusty Baker ended a tie with Chicago manager Tony La Russa, defeating the 77-year-old La Russa 106-105 in regular-season games.
Astros vs. White Sox
Luis Robert's broken-bat single opened the eighth for Houston, which was leading by three runs. Robert scored on AJ Pollock's triple with one out in the inning. Héctor Neris struck out Reese McGuire to limit the damage after Robert scored on a groundout by Jake Burger for a 4-3 lead.
Astros starter Cristian Javier handed out five hits and one run in addition to recording four walks in five innings, tying a season-high to mark his first victory since May 25.
With one out in the first, Kyle Tucker hit an RBI single to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. The inning was ended by a strikeout against Matijevic by Michael Kopech. After that, Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron was sent off between innings for shouting at the home plate umpire over the strike zone.
After McGuire recording a double in the second, the White Sox had runners at second and third with one out. To relieve the jam, Javier took out Josh Harrison and Adam Haseley.
In the ninth, Ryan Pressly walked the leadoff batter before retiring the next three batters to earn his 13th save. With two outs in the fourth inning, Matijevic hit an opposite-field homer off Kopech for a 2-0 lead.
With one out in the fifth, Danny Mendick walked and scored on Robert's two-out double, reducing the deficit to 2-1. A single by Jason Castro was recorded in the bottom of the inning with no outs. To make it 4-1, Dubón hit his third home run of the season.
After leaving his last start in the first inning with discomfort in his right knee, Kopech yielded a season-high seven hits, four runs, and four strikeouts in five innings. Two home runs in a game were the second time he had conceded this season.
The Astros were without designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, who sustained a hand injury during his last at-bat on Saturday. Baker said Alvarez's injury was not considered severe.
Matijevic, 26, received a warm embrace from José Altuve as he reached the dugout.
“That was real cool,” said Baker after Matijevic's first home run.
“When I was rounding the bases I just took it all in,” Matijevic said. “I wasn’t really thinking anything, but I looked up and I saw all the fans and stuff, and I really took it in, and it was a special moment.”
A 16-year-old boy grabbed Matijevic's home run ball and traded it for a package that included six tickets, passes for batting practice, an Altuve-signed ball, and a Justin Verlander-signed jersey.
“I was planning on giving the kid a signed bat because that’s all that I would have wanted,” Matijevic said. “But man, he’s the best negotiator I’ve ever seen.”