Vaughn's double lifts White Sox over Astros
HOUSTON (AP) — With both his shoulders covered in shaving cream from the postgame celebration, Pedro Grifol couldn't stop smiling as he discussed his first win as a major league manager.
“Today was a fun day all the way around,” he said.
Andrew Vaughn’s tiebreaking, two-run double in the ninth inning lifted the Chicago White Sox to a 3-2 victory over the defending World Series champion Houston Astros in their season opener Thursday night.
Grifol won 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, which was tied for the longest streak in major league history with the Boston Beaneaters from 1887-96.
Yasmani Grandal hit a tying homer for Chicago 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 line drive that sailed over the head of leaping second baseman Mauricio Dubón and into center field to put the White Sox on top.
“It was a great game all the way around from the first inning to the last inning," Grifol said. “There was a lot of moving parts to it, even though it was just three or four moves to make, there was a lot of moving parts in the mind.”
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.
Cease, who finished second to Justin Verlander in last year's AL Cy Young Award voting, said he felt locked in from the start.
“That was about as sharp as I’ve ever been,” he said.
Houston manager Dusty Baker raved about Cease's performance.
“You’re not used to seeing breaking balls like that right out of spring training,” he said. “Usually, he would bounce more of them. He was getting strike one with that breaking ball. ... He was on tonight. We usually don’t strike out that much but that guy was pretty good tonight.”
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 right-center seats.
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, sidelined 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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