Ivan Nova stayed hot, Gerrit Cole was scratched and the White Sox gained a doubleheader split against the Astros on Tuesday night.
Nova, pitching his second complete game of the season, improved to 4-0 with an ERA of 0.49 in his last five starts. The only run against him was unearned in the Sox’ 4-1 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Sox (53-65) caught a break when Cole, 14-5 with a 2.87 ERA, halted his pregame warmup after he felt discomfort in his right hamstring.
They scored three runs in the second inning against right-hander Chris Devenski on an RBI single by Adam Engel and a two-run single by Ryan Goins, and Ryan Cordell doubled home Yolmer Sanchez against Joe Biagini in the fourth, which was more than enough for Nova (8-9), who retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced.
Nova allowed four hits and no walks, struck out three and lowered his ERA to 4.51.
“I’m locating my pitches better and throwing way more strikes,” Nova said.
It was the 10th complete game of Nova’s career. He threw 104 pitches, 69 for strikes.
“I know they are really aggressive,” Nova said of the Astros (78-42). “I was watching the first game, and I saw [Dylan] Cease getting nine ground balls in a row when they were swinging at the first, second pitch. My focus was trying to get ahead in the count and pitch up in the strike zone a little bit more.”
Sox starting pitchers have a 1.33 ERA over the last six games.
Cole had been 10-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his last 14 starts.
“We’ll get him tested even further to see where this takes us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He doesn’t think it’s serious.”
Garcia misses third straight game
Leury Garcia has a bruised right index finger from a slide into third base, manager Rick Renteria revealed before the doubleheader. Garcia, who did not play in either game Tuesday, was said to be “under the weather” when he was scratched from the lineup Sunday.
Status quo for Moncada
Renteria offered no update on third baseman Yoan Moncada, who has been out with a strained right hamstring since July 31. Moncada was on the field early doing running exercises with director of conditioning Allen Thomas.
“He continues to improve, but I don’t have a window for you today,” Renteria said.
This and that
Tim Anderson’s error, his major-league-leading 20th of the season, led to the unearned run in the second game.
u Welington Castillo offered no excuses for his three passed balls in Game 1, Renteria said.
u The doubleheader necessitates a spot start, and Hector Santiago likely will be needed the next time through the rotation, Renteria said.
- u James McCann will receive his White Sox Heart and Hustle Award on Wednesday before the game. Harold Baines will present the award. The overall winner of the award will be announced in November.
- u Lucas Giolito ranks fifth in the American League with 11.26 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be the second-best mark in Sox history among qualifying pitchers behind Chris Sale (11.82) in 2015.