HOUSTON – A blister made quick work of Carson Fulmer Thursday, forcing the 23-year-old right-hander to exit the White Sox’ 3-1 victory against the Astros after he faced three batters in the first inning.
To the rescue? None other than Chris Volstad, who pitched 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball to collect his first victory in five years, and six other relievers on a night the AL West champion Astros were held to three hits to see their six-game winning streak end.
The blister, on Fulmer’s index finger, began acting up late in his last start in Detroit, Fulmer revealed, and in the bullpen, putting Volstad on notice.
“Be ready, stay loose and try to be ready to get in there early,” said the 6-7 Volstad, who spent the last two years in the minors and whose last win came as a Cub in his last major league start in 2012.
Jace Fry, Mike Pelfrey, Gregory Infante, Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar and Juan Minaya (fifth save in six chances) followed Volstad.
Fulmer came in with some momentum after two consecutive starts in which he pitched six innings of one-run ball. The status of his next start is in doubt.
“I’ve never had any issues with blistering anywhere,” Fulmer said. “I tried to get through it. I’ll be back out there as soon as I can.”
The Sox (61-91) salvaged the third game of the series and won the series series 4-2. Dallas Keuchel (13-5) was also the pitcher of record in Volstad’s last win.
Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to career-best 12 games with his 17th home run, a shot to center against right-hander Francis Martes leading off the eighth. It gave the Sox a 3-1 lead.
Garcia stays grounded
An always-heard knock against Avisail Garcia was his inflated ground ball rate, which, at 52 percent this season is right where his career numbers average. While that hasn’t changed, Garcia’s batting average (.333) is 80 points higher than his career .253 mark was going into the season.
“That’s subjective,’’ hitting coach Todd Steverson said. “You don’t tell a guy to quit hitting ground balls. The fact he can and still get hits, that’s pretty good.
“You need to get through some holes in the infield and he has enough speed to beat out some groundballs.’’
Garcia has 17 homers, 77 RBI and 26 infield hits. He had 22 infield hits in 2015 when he batted .257.
This and that
Matt Davidson was scratched from the lineup with flu-like symptoms, including a low grade fever, Renteria said. Willy Garcia replaced him at designated hitter.
*Jose Abreu hit his career-high 40th double but had to elude and flop around Jose Altuve at second base to get in safely. Abreu had 35, 34 and 32 doubles his first three seasons.
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