Vaughn's double lifts White Sox over Astros 3-2 in opener
HOUSTON (AP) — Andrew Vaughn’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the ninth inning lifted the Chicago White Sox to a 3-2 win over the defending World Series champion Houston Astros in their season opener Thursday night.
The game was tied 1-all after a homer by Chicago's Yasmani Grandal in the eighth. Ryan Pressly (0-1) walked Tim Anderson with one out in the ninth before a single by Luis Robert Jr.
Vaughn then belted a double on a line drive that sailed over the head of leaping second baseman Mauricio Dubón and into center field to put the White Sox on top.
Pedro Grifol got the win in his managerial debut after spending the last 10 seasons as a coach in the Royals organization. It snapped a streak of 10 straight wins for the Astros in openers.
White Sox ace Dylan Cease allowed two hits and a run with 10 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in his first opening-day start. Kendall Graveman (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth for the win.
Reynaldo Lopez allowed a soaring solo home run to the second deck in right field to Yordan Alvarez with one out in the ninth but finished for the save.
Cease had retired 19 in a row, with Houston’s only baserunner coming on a leadoff single by Jeremy Peña, when he plunked Alvarez on the foot with one out in the seventh.
José Abreu, who spent his entire nine-year career with the White Sox before signing with the Astros this offseason, followed with a single to chase Cease.
He was replaced by Aaron Bummer, who walked Kyle Tucker to load the bases. A wild pitch with two outs allowed Alvarez to score, putting Houston up 1-0.
Yoán Moncada hit a ball that Abreu couldn’t handle at first base for an error to start the eighth. The ball rolled into right field, but Moncada was thrown out at third. Chicago challenged, but the call was upheld.
There were two outs when Grandal connected off Rafael Montero on a shot to the seats in right-center.
Framber Valdez allowed six hits and struck out four in five scoreless innings in his second straight opening-day start for Houston.
The White Sox had chances to score early against Valdez, but he pitched out of trouble. He retired Eloy Jiménez with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
The Astros opened the season without star second baseman Jose Altuve, who is out for at least two months after breaking his right thumb in the World Baseball Classic. Dubón filled in, marking the first time since 2011 that Altuve wasn’t the team’s starting second baseman on opening day.
White Sox: Placed LHP Garrett Crochet (left elbow surgery) and RHPs Matt Foster (right flexor strain) and Liam Hendriks (cancer treatment) on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to March 27.
Astros: Placed Altuve and OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery) on the 10-day injured list. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right elbow strain), LHP Parker Mushinski (lumbar spine muscle spasm) and LHP Blake Taylor (left elbow strain) were put on the 15-day injured list.
In a pregame ceremony, the Astros unveiled a gold pennant attached to a pole on the left-field wall commemorating their second World Series title in 2022. The ceremony also included team owner Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney, riding into the ballpark on a wagon pulled by Clydesdale horses while the couple held the team’s two World Series trophies.
Abreu talked about how strange it was to be facing his former team in his first game with a new club. He spent time on the field before batting practice catching up with many of his former teammates and hugged Grandal at the plate before his first at-bat.
The 2020 AL MVP signed a three-year $58.5 million contract with Houston to take over at first base this season for Yuli Gurriel.
Houston RHP Cristian Javier opposes RHP Lance Lynn when the series continues Friday night.
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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press