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Bullpen shuts down Astros, White Sox avoid elimination in ALDS

The White Sox’ 12-6 come-from-behind victory cuts the Astros’ series lead to 2-1.

The White Sox’ Aaron Bummer reacts after a strikeout in the seventh inning of the 12-6 ALDS Game 3 win over the Astros.
The White Sox’ Aaron Bummer reacts after a strikeout in the seventh inning of the 12-6 ALDS Game 3 win over the Astros.
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Guaranteed Rate Field was jumping. And then it wasn’t.

And then it came alive again.

It was that kind of wild Sunday night on the South Side.

It was a wild for four innings, anyway, until the bullpen restored order in a 12-6 victory over the Astros that gave the White Sox their first victory in the American League Division Series, avoiding elimination and presenting a chance to knot the series at 2 games apiece Monday afternoon.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon will oppose Astros righty Jose Urquidy in a quick turnaround at 2:37 p.m.

Yasmani Grandal and Leury Garcia homered in a five-run third inning as the Sox overcame a 5-1 deficit against Luis Garcia and Yimi Garcia, and Grandal was in the middle of a disputed play that gave the Sox one of their runs in a three-run fourth.

“I think we made a statement,” Grandal said.

Dylan Cease gave up three runs in only 1 23 innings in his first career postseason start. Michael Kopech relieved Cease and gave up three more runs, but lifted by the energy at a rollicking, dressed-in-black crowd of 40,288 at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox rallied for their first home postseason victory since 2008.

“We’re a tough minded bunch,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said, who, at 77 years and six days, is the oldest manager in major league history to win a postseason game.

Grandal hit an opposite field two-run homer and Garcia (four RBI) launched a three-run 436-foot homer to center — after Astros manager Dusty Baker lifted Luis Garcia for Yimi Garcia with a 2-0 count — to put the Sox in front 6-5.

Tim Anderson had three hits, giving him 16 in six postseason games, the most by a player in a six-game span in the postseason.

That wacky fourth started with consecutive singles by Anderson, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu, producing the go-ahead run. Robert scored from third on Grandal’s ground ball when first baseman Yuri Gurriel’s throw to the plate glanced off Grandal’s left arm and went to the backstop, Robert sliding home and toppling plate umpire Tom Hallion. Baker argued that Grandal was too far inside the baseline, but to no avail after the umpires huddled to talk it over.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Baker said of Grandal. “Was a smart play on his part.”

“I wish I could say it was a heads up play,” Grandal said. “It just hit me.”

La Russa said there was no controversy. Grandal was on the infield grass but in accordance with the rules established his own baseline which he didn’t veer away from.

“It’s in the rule,” La Russa said. “He just ran straight to the base. I guarantee there was no intent (by Grandal).”

The first four innings, which included two homers for each side, 17 hits (11 by the Sox) and took two and a half hours. The good omen for the Sox, who had no extra base hits in the first two games, was the emergence of the home run. The Sox are 79-27 when they hit a home run and are 43-6 if they hit two or more.

After the fourth, the game settled down thanks to two perfect innings by right-hander Ryan Tepera with three strikeouts and five straight outs by Aaron Bummer, struck out Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa in order. Tepera and Bummer combined for six straight strikeouts.

“Tepera and Bummer were key because of the number of outs they got,” La Russa said.

Liam Hendriks pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two. The 16 strikeouts were the most in a postseason game for the White Sox.

Craig Kimbrel recorded the last out of the eighth and Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth after the Sox tacked on three more runs in the eighth on RBI doubles by Andrew Vaughn and Garcia and an RBI single by Anderson.

The game lasted four and a half hours but players noted how many stayed to the end, even with the Sox having a six-run lead in the ninth.

“I can’t tell you the impression that made on our ballclub,” La Russa said.

NOTES: The 12 runs are the second-most in a postseason game in franchise history and the most since scoring a franchise-record 14 on Oct. 4, 2005 vs. Boston in the ALCS.

*The 16 hits were a franchise record for a postseason game.

*All nine White Sox starters recorded a hit.

*The 20 consecutive singles to begin the postseason is the longest such streak in MLB history, breaking the previous streak of 19 straight singles by the 2008 Angels (source: Elias).