Second straight win over Astros softens blow of rough season for Sox

As the losses mounted, the White Sox were almost becoming numb to them.

Almost, but not quite there. It helps, Jose Abreu says, to know there should be a silver lining after all the punishment. It also helps to enjoy two pleasantly surprising victories against the Astros, which is what the Sox pulled off with a 7-1 win Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field after an 8-5 victory Tuesday. It ensured their first series win since June 30-July 2, when they took two of three from the Rangers.

Players in the Sox’ clubhouse know they’re battling every day with less during a rebuilding process that purged the roster of — since last December — Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings.

Before the Astros (71-42), owners of the American League’s best record, came to town, the Sox (43-68) had dropped 23 of 27 games. Their 6-18 record in July was the worst in franchise history for that month.

Miguel Gonzalez pitched eight innings of one-run ball in the White Sox' victory over the Astros Wednesday night. (AP)

For the players still here, including Abreu, the losing still stings.

“Yeah, absolutely,’’ Abreu said. “It’s difficult because we don’t come here to lose. I’m sure we’ll be better down the road, but this is the hardest part of this process right now. We know there are tough pills to swallow in order to feel good later. You need drugs if you’re sick to feel better later. That’s how I see it.’’

The Sox got some needed medicine from right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (6-10), who pitched eight innings of one-run ball, and shortstop Tim Anderson, who broke a scoreless tie in the fifth against right-hander Collin McHugh with a two-run home run before adding an RBI double in a three-run sixth.

Nicky Delmonico, who has reached base in all eight games since being called up, raised his average to .400 with three singles, and Yoan Moncada walked twice and doubled, extending his hitting streak to five games. A keen-eyed 22-year-old, Moncada has reached base in 14 of his last 25 plate appearances, including seven walks.

“That’s what the White Sox are about,’’ Gonzalez said. “You see a lot of talent in here, a lot of guys are doing a good job. I’m excited to watch them play.’’

Moncada’s error, though, on a routine grounder with two outs in the eighth and the Sox leading 7-1 — Derek Fisher broke the shutout with a leadoff homer in the inning — prompted manager Rick Renteria to see if Gonzalez was gassed at 103 pitches. Gonzalez (eight innings, five hits, one run, one walk, four strikeouts) convinced Renteria that he was good to go, and he needed only two more pitches to finish the inning.

Gonzalez, who didn’t know he had notched his 50th career win, has had quality starts in four of his last five outings, which could punch his ticket out of town to a contending team in a waiver deal.

“It would be bittersweet, for sure,’’ Gonzalez said.

Wins against the Astros are nothing but sweet, however.

“It feels good,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “I’m more happy with the way the guys are playing.’’

Abreu has two years left on his contract, and he said he hopes he and Renteria are still around if and when the Sox are winning.

“In my career, I’ve played for different managers who have a lot of knowledge about baseball, and Ricky is one of the best,” Abreu said. “I just hope he can stay here for a long time and be the face of the franchise as a manager and guide us to a championship. I hope that he can stay, and I hope that I can stay here, too.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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