HOUSTON -- White Sox right-hander Hector Noesi hampered his chances for his first victory right from the start Saturday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Noesi gave up four first-inning runs and the Sox never caught up in a 6-5 loss. It was Noesi's third loss in four starts for the Sox since they picked him up off waivers from the Rangers on April 25 and stretched him out from a reliever to a starter to fill a spot in a rotation battling injury and inconsistency.
He pitched six-plus innings, allowing six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits while walking three and striking out six.
"He stubbed his toe coming out," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He didn't seem like he could get on track in that first inning. ... After that, he composed himself got us to a point where we at least had a shot at it."
Noesi said he wants to stay a starter, and he is among those looking to retain his spot in the rotation when left-hander Chris Sale returns from the disabled list. Ventura said beforehand the Sox would see how the pitchers' starts play out in the next week but added Noesi had done well enough to warrant consideration to stay in the rotation. .
Jason Castro's three-run homer to right field was the big blow in the Astros' initial outburst. Jose Altuve started the inning with a single and George Springer tripled him home. After Noesi walked Dexter Fowler, Castro hit his sixth homer of the season.
Noesi gave up another single and a walk before Adam Dunn made a solid play on a grounder at first base and Moises Sierra made a diving catch in right field that likely saved two runs.
Fowler hit a home run to start the fifth inning. Entering the seventh inning at 106 pitches, Noesi allowed a single to Springer before he was pulled in favor of Scott Downs. Springer advanced on Downs' throwing error to first and scored on Fowler's RBI single to push the Astros ahead 6-3.
Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said Noesi was having trouble even in warm-ups with throwing pitches up in the zone.
"We knew it would be a battle to get him to stay on top and be down in the zone," Flowers said. "Eventually he got it, pretty much after the first inning. It was an assortment (that caused him problems) ... hung a breaking ball, couple of changeups up, fastballs elevated. When you are not getting ahead of guys, it makes it a lot more challenging and a little more predictable on pitches."
The Sox cut into the lead against Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart with two runs in the second inning on sacrifice flies from Alexei Ramirez and Sierra. The Sox might have been able to score more, but Alejandro De Aza was thrown out running from second to third after Sierra's fly to right to end the inning.
The Sox scored in the third and pulled within a run in the eighth inning against reliever Kyle Farnsworth when De Aza's sacrifice fly and Gordon Beckham's RBI single cut the Astros' lead to 6-5, but it wasn't enough.
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