Brewers 1, White Sox 0: The Houser wins

It turns out the White Sox offense can be grounded, but it probably takes the literal sense of the word to accomplish the figurative.

The six-game winning streak is over, and Adrian Houser is the reason. Milwaukee’s sinkerballing starter might’ve made a run at a complete game in a normal season. As it stood, he settled for seven shutout innings, and David Phelps and Josh Hader took care of the other two.

In the process, he handed Dallas Keuchel his first loss in a White Sox uniform, even though it was Keuchel’s best start of the year.

Keuchel just didn’t pitch as well as Houser. He almost matched him pitch-for-pitch, but after taking the first two games against Milwaukee with late-inning surges, the White Sox offense couldn’t make “almost” work this time.

Keuchel only ran into problems in the third, when he allowed three singles to start the inning, including a soft Eric Sogard liner that scored the game’s only run. It could’ve been worse, because Nomar Mazara hauled in Ryon Healy’s deep drive to the warning track in right field, which would’ve made the game 4-0.

Keuchel suffered no such scares over his other six innings. After striking out just three batters combined over his first two starts, Keuchel punched out eight Brewers. He used the cutter effectively against the heavily right-handed lineup, accounting for eight of his 17 swinging strikes on the night.

But Houser didn’t have that slip-up. He threw seven shutout innings on 10 fewer pitches (87 to Keuchel’s 97), and while he allowed his share of baserunners, they had a way of disappearing. Luis Robert was caught stealing for the first time in his career, and the Sox grounded into three double plays. The White Sox hit seven balls over 99 mph, but six of them stayed on the ground.

Danny Mendick was the lone thorn in the Brewers’ side, as he went 3-for-3 with a double in his first game filling in for Nick Madrigal. The rest of the lineup went 3-for-26. Their best swings died on the right-field warning track, as Eloy Jiménez’s slicing liner fell just short of the wall in the fifth inning, and Robert and Yoán Moncada’s attempts to tie the game in the eighth found Milwaukee gloves.

On the plus side, it’s cool that the White Sox can lose a game and still be two over .500. Also, Rick Renteria had an easy night managing the pitching staff, because after Keuchel went seven, Codi Heuer took care of the last two. He retired all six batters he faced, and three by strikeout.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox were 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position, but the hit was a Moncada nubber that didn’t leave the left side of the infield with two outs in the isxth. José Abreu, who had a bunch of uncomfortable swings against Houser, struck out.

*After taking well over three hours to play each of the first two games, this one was wrapped up in a tidy 2:21.

*Mark Mathias won the “closest to the cup” prize for this shot on James McCann.

Record: 7-5 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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As Cirensica

Keuchel has been pleasantly good. I think the fact he only pitched half season last year helped him come with fresher arm. He looks sharp. Effective. Yes, he lost this one, but if he keeps pitching like this, he will win plenty with this team.


Nomar has looked confident and competent in right.


I agree with that. However, he kind of looks lost at the plate right now. I know he had that lucky hit in Milwaukee, but his other at-bats have not been very good. I really hope he turns it around soon.